When she came to study at Plymouth State University, Melissa Merrill ’02 wanted to create an event to honor her mother, Joan Merrill, who had recently died of breast cancer. She also wanted to raise money for cancer research and to support students who were facing the hardships of cancer, suffering from the disease themselves or coping with a family member’s illness. Merrill created the Walk to Fight Cancer, a 12-hour walk held each fall at PSU. A nonprofit organization, called Keeping You, Me & Memories Alive, was also formed to organize the walk and support local community members whose lives are affected by cancer. Over the past six years, volunteers have raised over $78,000.
Part of that money goes toward annual book awards, given to PSU students who have been diagnosed with cancer or whose family members are suffering from the disease. This year, thanks to the success of the 6th Annual Walk to Fight Cancer last October, Keeping You, Me & Memories Alive has four Joan Merrill Book Awards and two Michelle Morse Book Awards available to PSU students. The awards are named for Melissa Merrill’s mother and PSU student Michelle Morse ’05, who died of colon cancer last year. Morse was the inspiration for Michelle’s Law, legislation that provides for a 12-month extension of health care coverage for full-time students on a medical leave of absence.
The book awards are worth $400, which can be used to purchase textbooks and/or supplies for the fall 2006 term at the PSU Bookstore. Keeping You, Me & Memories Alive is looking for nominations for the awards, which are available to students who have been diagnosed with cancer or have a close family member who is suffering from the disease. Previous recipients are encouraged to contact us again, and all potential recipients will be reviewed equally.
To learn more about our organization, please visit www.memoriesalive.org. Nominations, with the student’s name and contact information, should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Keeping You, Me & Memories Alive, P.O. Box 22, Plymouth, NH 03264 before April 3. Any questions may be directed to Diane Tillotson at (603) 535-2592.
Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.