SEMINARY, MS (WDAM) - Getting a higher education can be expensive, but through the power of 300 to 750 words, that financial burden is now lessened for some Mississippi students. It's part of the Mississippi Organ Recovery agency's scholarship program for graduating seniors. A student who won a scholarship and a chance to talk about how organ donations touched her life.
"What that does is it brings awareness," said Trish Byrd, Community Outreach Coordinator.
It's an awareness lifted right of the pages of 265 essays from students representing 95 high schools across the state. Byrd said the essays are more than just a chance at free money. They're personal.
"It's very impressive because unfortunately a lot of them have ties to donation through losing their friends or family members having someone actually receive an organ. A lot of them have personal ties through organ donation," Byrd said.
Seminary High School senior, Eva Cutway, is one of those people. She's one of a dozen students and the only one from the Pine Belt chosen as a winner.
"I'm grateful that I got the scholarship because it means so much to me. It's so deeply impacted my life with everyone that my mom has helped," Cutway said.
An essay won her a $500 scholarship. She wrote about how organ donations touched her own life. Her mother passed when she was nine leaving her organs to live on and save other's lives.
"She's the reason I do everything. She's the reason I practically do everything in my life," Cutway said.
It's the reason Cutway understands the significance of being a donor.
"There are 1,400 Mississippians on the waiting list, hoping for an organ donation," Byrd said.
Every day, 22 people will pass away, waiting for an organ that doesn't come. The program, Cutway, and other applicants highlight the importance of getting on that list while getting the chance at help paying for an education.
"I want to help as many people as she did and leave a mark on people's life like she did for them," Cutway said.