Philadelphia, PA — The Jessica Beth Schwartz Memorial Scholarship is pleased to announce that two organ transplant recipients are the winners of its 2022-23 higher education scholarships.
The Jessica Beth Schwartz Memorial Scholarship is funded through the Transplant Foundation, the charitable foundation which supports the mission of Gift of Life Donor Program. Each year, the scholarship program issues $2,500 awards to transplant recipients seeking higher education. The scholarship was created in memory of heart transplant recipient Jessica Beth Schwartz.
“It is my pleasure to give these young organ transplant recipients the opportunity to pursue higher education, while honoring my daughter Jessie’s love of learning,” says scholarship co founder Janice Schwartz Donahue. “These students have already displayed great strength and resilience in their lives. I’m sure a great future lies ahead for them.”
2022-2023 Scholarship Winners:
Cade Hovey – Gilbertsville, PA
Cade was born with a rare liver disease called progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC). At age 16, he received a liver transplant at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “My life is forever changed thanks to my donor hero. Our connection is a complicated mix of tragedy and transformation, intense suffering, and overwhelming gratitude,” he said.
Cade served as the president of his senior class, in addition to his participation in other student organizations, working toward his goal of serving others. Outside of school, Cade advocates for the PFIC community. He is a peer mentor for PFIC Advocacy & Resource Network, and a Gift of Life ambassador.
Like Jessica, Cade is an artist and maintains a host of other interests and passions. He just began his freshman year at Susquehanna University and plans to study journalism and international relations.
Onyi Kenine – Wilmington, DE
Onyi became sick at 5 months old on vacation in the U.S. from Nigeria. She was in liver failure and received a liver transplant at 10 months old at Nemours Children’s Hospital. Onyi is an active and committed member of her communities inside and outside of school.
She was the captain of her high school track team, a sport she will continue in college, and president of her school’s Gift of Life club. “While in college, my goal is to start a club that raises funds for organ and tissue donation,” she says.
As a Gift of Life spokesperson, Onyi invokes change through public speaking engagements, promoting education by sharing her story.
Onyi just began her freshman year at Loyola University Maryland.
Jessica Beth Schwartz Memorial Scholarship
Just a few days after she was born, Jessica Beth Schwartz was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. Her heart and body began to slow down by the age of 14. But thanks to someone who said yes to organ donation, Jessica was able to experience eight and a half additional years of life.
A total of 71 students have been awarded scholarships since the fund was created in 2003 in her honor totaling more than $155,000.
To be eligible for the Jessica Beth Schwartz Memorial Scholarship, students must be an organ or tissue transplant recipient under the age of 25, seniors in high school, or be enrolled in a two or four-year college, university, trade or technical school.
To contribute to the Jessica Beth Schwartz Memorial Scholarship Fund, or for more information on scholarship criteria, visit www.jessiesday.org.
Gift of Life Donor Program
Gift of Life Donor Program is the non-profit, federally designated organ procurement organization, working with 129 acute care hospitals and 14 transplant centers to serve 11.3 million people in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware. Thanks to its compassionate community, for the past 14 years, Gift of Life has coordinated the most organ donors in the United States. Its annual donation rate, most recently 62 organ donors-per-million-population, ranks among the highest in the world. Since 1974, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 55,000 organs for transplant, and more than two million tissue transplants have resulted from the generosity of donors and their families. One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people, and a tissue donor can improve the lives of more than 100 others. For more information or to register, visit donors1.org.