Landon Mabry Elliott is organizing this fundraiser.
I am an ambitious man, but I was born into lower-middle class family. At the age of 16 I lost my father, my role model, on finals day of my junior year of high school. Two days later I chose to begin working in construction. My thought was that at least I would no longer be a financial burden to my mother, as she now had more to handle than she could ever dream of accomplishing. I began to work 7 days a week 12 hours a day over my summer break to save enough to make it through my senior year of high school. By the end of the summer I began to lose mobility, as pain began to build in my right leg. Throughout my senior year my pain and mobility worsened until I needed a cane to get my shoes and socks on, in the morning. A doctor visit and MRI concluded that I had three herniated disks and disk degenerative disease. Since my father had passed and had worked for the state, my insurance would last until I turned 18, only two months after the news of my disease. We decided to do immediate surgeries including a discectomy and laminectomy. These failed and three weeks before my insurance run out I went under the knife again for anterior spinal fusion surgery on my L5-S1 vertebrae. I took a few years off after graduation and finally entered the University of Kansas in 2010. I began as a history student with dreams of law school, but as with many students my path evolved. I am currently in my ninth semester (5th year). I am 14 credits away from graduating with two BA degrees in Astrophysics and German. Throughout my collegiate career I have dreamed of studying abroad in Germany and maybe even pursuing a graduate degree there. But this dream has turned to necessity. If I were to study abroad I would take 9 hours of German in 5 weeks. This would allow me to complete the last 5 hours I need in the Fall semester of 2014, allowing me to complete both degrees in December. However if I do not study abroad this summer, I will need to add another semester since some of the intended summer classes are prerequisites for others and I cannot complete them all congruently. The problem here is that many of my scholarships are only offered for up to 5 years, so if I do not graduate in December I will no longer be able to afford to attend the University of Kansas and will be forced to drop out with only one semester worth of class hours to go for two degrees. I have exhausted all loan and grant options. There is where I need help. I need a total of $12,000 to study abroad this summer. I have received $4,000 in scholarships. I have taken out a $2,000 endowment loan and I will be selling the portfolio which I have built over the past 10 years for about $1,000. This leaves me $5,000 short of my goal. I therefore turn to my fate over to you all. I am very independent and struggle to ask for assistance but I realize now that I cannot win this fight alone. I cannot escape the poverty I was born into alone. Sometimes one must ask for help, in order to be in a position to help others in the future. Raising this $5,000 is imperative to my gradutation and to my future. Thank you.