A week before his college graduation in May 1999, Danny Heinsohn got a pounding headache. Doctors discovered
a tumor the size of a racquetball pushing up
against his skull behind his left eyeball. Rather
than spending the summer backpacking through
Europe with friends, Heinsohn, then 23, underwent
four brain surgeries and began chemotherapy to treat primary central
nervous system lymphoma—a cancer that arises from white blood
cells in the brain or spinal cord.
HOW YOU CAN VOLUNTEER
Cancer for College a wards $5,000 scholarships
to cancer patients and survivors of any age enrolled
in college full-time. cancerforcollege.org
The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults
gives $2,500 scholarships for college or graduate
school to those affected by cancer between the
ages of 15 and 39, whether through their own
diagnosis or the diagnosis of a parent or sibling.
The Patient Advocate Foundation awards
$3,000 scholarships to college or graduate
students under age 25 who have been
diagnosed with or treated for cancer or another
serious disease within the past five years.
Want to launch a scholarship fund to
honor a loved one’s journey—or your
own? Danny Heinsohn, founder of My
Hometown Heroes, says having a strong
vision and an understanding of the
people you hope to assist are keys to
success. Do you want to support students
interested in going into cancer research,
foster budding community leaders or
provide general financial aid? “Your
‘why’ is very important and needs to
be authentic,” he says.
Do you know an extraordinary
person who’s giving his or her
time to the cancer cause?
Email Volunteer@Cancer TodayMag.org.
We may feature the person in a future issue.
PHOTO BY ZACK MARSH FROM SAGE IN TERNATIONAL, INC.
A FUND OF YOUR OWN
To celebrate 10 years of cancer remission in 2010, Heinsohn decided to raise
$10,000 while training for his first
Ironman triathlon. A friend suggested he
use the money to start a scholarship fund
for young adult cancer survivors. “I knew
the physical, emotional and financial toll
that being diagnosed with cancer as a
young adult can have on a family,” says
Heinsohn, who lives in Reno, Nevada.
“I wanted to do something.”
Heinsohn founded My Hometown
Heroes ( myhometownheroes.org) in
2010. The foundation, which started
out small with $1,000 scholarships but
now offers amounts up to $5,000, has
awarded 54 college scholarships to
cancer survivors between the ages of
17 and 39. My Hometown Heroes will
be accepting applications for the next
round of scholarships from Nov. 15, 2017,
through Feb. 15, 2018.
“Cancer can be a really isolating
experience, especially when you’re a
young adult trying to establish your
identity,” says Heinsohn. Along with
their scholarship, recipients get a
tool kit of fun, inspirational items—
for example, surf wax or a running
shirt—to help them embrace “
survivorship as an expression and a lifestyle,”
For a few years, Heinsohn juggled a
sports marketing position with his responsibilities with My Hometown Heroes. He
left his corporate job in 2015 to focus on
growing the foundation. His new goal?
Raise $1 million and award that amount
in scholarships by 2020—his 20th year of
cancer remission. —LINDSE Y KONKEL