2023 Winner: William Jetton
My name is William Jetton. As a healthy cross-country runner, I never expected to receive a cancer diagnosis at 14. But a month after I did, I underwent a six-hour surgery at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to remove 42 cancerous lymph nodes and my entire thyroid gland. The surgery left one laryngeal nerve paralyzed and half of my airway permanently closed.
I forced myself to make a decision that changed my future reality, I chose not to allow the diagnosis to define me. I chose to define my diagnosis. I wanted to become the fastest runner on my team. I wanted my life to be defined by success, not mediocrity. I wanted to be known as an overcomer, not a quitter.
Overcame I did, over quarantine in 2020 I outworked everyone else by running a minimum of 8 miles a day and biking 20 miles. Today I run cross country at the University of West Florida and have a Pr of 25:55 8k.
I am so appreciative of being the recipient of this award. I hope to do more great things in the future and hope this scholarship will help me reach those goals. When I first found out I had won the scholarship I didn’t believe it, but now I am glad and will strive to further my college career in my accounting major and in my athletics in cross country.