Keziah Wilson is inspired to help others by her father, Hassan, a retired Army sergeant major. She is motivated to serve as a doctor from her experiences with the medical community.
A Cornell University freshman, studying pre-med, Wilson has a rare disorder called Addison's disease, or adrenal insufficiency disorder. Addison's disease is characterized by the adrenal glands failing to produce enough hormones, usually too little cortisol and aldosterone.
“It’s something that can be really stressful,” she says.
Wilson was relieved last year when she learned she was among the recipients of The American Legion Legacy Scholarship for the 2020-21 school year. The scholarship is awarded to children of veterans on active duty since 9/11 who were either killed while on active duty or have a combined disability rating of 50 percent or greater.
“It really means a lot to me that I was able to receive the scholarship because of my medical disability, which inhibits me from being able to do a lot of things, especially on campus,” said Wilson, who is studying remotely this semester. “It’s relieved a lot of stress in me.”
Applications are now open for the 2021-22 scholarship year. The deadline is April 15. Learn more about the scholarship and apply here.
“My parents and I were very thankful for the scholarship,” she explained. “It has taken the stress off me and my parents being able to navigate our way through the pandemic. It further inspired me as a student during this difficult time.”
Wilson became eligible for the scholarship due to her father’s injuries.
“I have noticed that he has been able to push through despite many of the injuries and issues that he suffered in the service,” she said of her father, who served in the Army for more than 20 years. “He has always inspired me, especially when it comes to my studies, despite any issues that may come my way.”
While she has plenty of time to decide which medical specialty to focus on, she is interested in the preventative aspect of medicine.
“I just want to make sure that people are well when it comes to their health,” she said. “There are different issues going on in medical facilities with some people receiving the proper care before it is too late to fix whatever underlying issues they may have. I have also noticed there is a greater need for more health providers to help underserved communities.”
American Legion Legacy Scholarships are largely funded by donations from the annual American Legion Legacy Ride as well as other kind contributions. (Learn more about the charity and donate here.)
“It means a lot to me,” Wilson said. “It’s amazing as to how many veterans have donated their money to supporting others when they have personally gone through a lot. They really didn’t have to take the time to support others in their community. But it is very commendable, considering all the things they have gone through as veterans. I wish I could thank all of them. It takes a lot for someone or many people to do this.”
While Wilson is just starting out on her journey, her motivation is crafting a vision.
“It inspires me as I know there are disabled veterans who need help as well,” she said. “It keeps me motivated to keep going and make a major difference in our society and in our country. I would like to help others as my father has, but doing so medically.”