Special to The Tribune
Asheville – Mission Health is making college more affordable for minority high school seniors and college students from Western North Carolina who are pursuing careers in healthcare. Twenty-one scholarships totaling $50,000 were awarded through the Kesha Young Health Careers Scholarship program and one of those scholarships went to a Weaverville woman.
Keshia Benavides of Weaverville is one of the recipients of the scholarship named in honor of Kesha Young, a 22-year-old, bi-racial woman who was born with mental and physical disabilities and underwent multiple surgeries at Mission Hospital. Kesha died just months before she was scheduled to earn her high school diploma.
Despite being in constant pain and confined to a wheelchair, Kesha was described by her adoptive parents as embodying the characteristics that are vital to how healthcare team members engage with patients, families and visitors, with a healthy spirit, warm smile and positive encouragement.
The scholarships, which aim to help further the students’ educational and professional development in healthcare and grow future Mission Health team members, help with tuition, books and expenses. Besides, members of the Mission Health team serve as mentors to the students as they embark on their careers.
Mission held a reception Monday (May 20) in honor of scholarship recipients, with leaders and staff on hand to celebrate their success.
Scholarship winner Keshia Benavides of Weaverville joined this group to have her picture taken. From left to right are Michelle Lanza, Isaac Manley, Alisha Patrick, Megan Farlow, Michael Penland, Jayda Hart, Carson Jones, Adriana Alvarez, Keshia Benavides, Madison McGlohon, Alma Leyva Chavez, and Ceecret Allen.