Local student receives Childhood Cancer Sibling Scholarship

One Richland resident was awarded Northwestern Mutual’s Childhood Cancer Sibling Scholarship which is aimed to “alleviate the financial strain on families that often
results from expensive cancer treatments by helping fund school tuition and fees.”

Sarah McKenna, a sophomore at Pepperdine University, said she was thrilled to be a recipient.

When she and her brother William were children, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma.

McKenna said the news was “really unexpected because he was so young.”

“I guess if I had to put it in one word, it would just be shocking,” McKenna said.

Although the experience was tough for the family, McKenna said it strengthened their bond.

“It’s super important to provide emotional support not only for the person who’s personally going through cancer treatments, but also the family around them because it’s emotionally draining on everybody,” McKenna said.

McKenna said she’s studying biology in college in hopes of one day helping others like her brother.

With the $5,000 dollar renewable scholarship, McKenna said she is one step closer to achieving those dreams.

“I think that if he hadn’t have gone through that, or if I didn’t go through that, that I possibly couldn’t even be going into that today,” McKenna said. “It’s just kind of nice to be able to not only like have my financial strain relieved, but also have an emotional connection to what the scholarship stands for.”

She also created her own non-profit, Kookies for Kids, and sends the money to the Seattle Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

“I think it’s really meaningful to do something besides just collecting donations, it’s kind of to create more awareness around it by making a product and kind of a face and a name for it,” McKenna said.

The award was given to 43 recipients in 2020, but the number varies every year. For more information on the scholarship, click here.