Tampa Spine Center Road to Recovery Scholarship Winners
At the Tampa Spine Center, our doctors aspire to help every client overcome the setbacks and pain that their injuries may cause. With this goal in mind, The Road to Recovery Scholarship was founded to award those who have overcome pain and medical obstacles to reach their educational goals. Visit our scholarship page for more information or to learn how to apply.
2018 Winner: Leanne Joyce
I was born with Aortic Valve Stenosis, a heart condition that narrows my aortic valve, preventing proper blood flow. Formerly a nationally ranked jump roper, competitive swimmer, and gymnast, my defective heart had no bearing on my childhood health. But at the age of 12, my cardiologist unexpectedly told me that I could no longer participate in aerobic sports as exerting my heart would place my life in danger. Yearning for an alternative identity, I remembered a gift I received from volunteers while I was in the hospital. This showed me that people care about hospitalized children. I decided to use the time I could not spend playing sports to help others.
I founded the 501(c)(3) non-profit Positive Impact for Kids which strives to improve the hospital experience for pediatric patients throughout the United States. Financial support is used to purchase distraction and education tools which are channeled to hospital staff to meet the emotional and physical needs of their hospitalized children. To date, I have raised over $140,000 and partnered with 117 hospitals, at least two in every state. The generosity of businesses has allowed my non-profit to provide over 130 iPads, 2,000 gift cards, and a multitude of additional items, impacting the lives of more than 600,000 children.
I am from Chapel Hill, NC and currently attend Furman University in SC. I am majoring in psychology and German on the pre-med track. I care deeply about mental health issues and plan to pursue a career in psychiatry as I continue to grow my non-profit.
“Upon hearing I was selected for this scholarship I felt extremely fortunate and empowered. I am very honored to have the Tampa Spine Center support my philanthropic and academic efforts. I know there were many deserving candidates and I am very gracious to be the recipient of this national scholarship. My educational goals would not be possible without generous support from the Tampa Spine Center Road to Recovery Scholarship.”
2017 Winner: Dandio Coulibaly
My name is Dandio Coulibaly and I live with my strong and hardworking mother, little brother and sister. I graduated from the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) in December 2016, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health Science. Currently, I am working at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Program Analyst in the Office of Device Evaluation and I am taking night classes at UMCP to complete the pre-requisites for medical school. When I entered high school, I was not sure of what I wanted my career goal to be or what I would major in in college, until a life changing event occurred in 2009.
In December 2009, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It all started when a bump in my left armpit started to grow’ it got as big as a golf ball. I did not tell my mother about the lump in my armpit because I did not want her to get too worried, plus I did not want to add on to the stress that she already had.
My parents got divorced when I was young and my father was deported in 2007. Since then, my mother has been working three jobs and going to school part-time to pursue her dream of a biotechnologist. She is currently at the University of Maryland University College completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology. Hopefully, she will be done by December 2017.
Back to my diagnosis, I had to go through three surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. I lost all my hair, my finger beds turned black, I had so many mouth sores, and I was extremely weak. These and the many other symptoms I had, caused me to be homeschooled because I could not do anything by myself. I was homeschooled for about four months and after my last round of radiation therapy in April 2010, I was pronounced cancer-free. Since this day, I was determined to find the cure to cancer. As a result, I am going to school to become the oncologist that found the cure to cancer.
“When The Tampa Spine Center called me to inform me that I won the scholarship, I was really surprised. When I decided to go back to school to complete the pre-requisite courses for medical school, my first concern was “How was I going to pay for these classes?” However, I did not let this stop me from going back to school because I know that God will make a way. As a result, he has revealed himself and provided me the money I need to complete these courses. With all the financial issues that my family and I are going through, this is truly a blessing. Thank you so much to everyone at the Trinity Spine Center and those that evaluated my scholarship application and considered me for the scholarship. I will not let you all down and the next time we meet, will be at my research lab where I am testing different drugs to find the cure to cancer.”