Lee Health Foundation has awarded Barbara’s Friends Scholarships to two local high school students, one a cancer survivor with sickle cell disease and another with sickle cell disease. It is the second year the scholarships have been awarded.

Receiving this year’s Barbara’s Friends Scholarships are Sarah Jean and Jetro Calixte. Jean graduated from Golden Gate High School in Naples and wants to be a Hematology/Oncology nurse. Calixte graduated from Lely High School in Naples and is a nursing student at Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW). The scholarships are administered through the Collaboratory and made possible through donations to Barbara’s Friends. This is the second year Lexington Country Club is committing to pay for one of the scholarships.

“We are very thankful to donors who support the Barbara’s Friends Scholarship and believe in it like we do,” said Dr. Emad Salman, pediatric oncologist and vice president of operations and chief physician executive for Golisano Children’s Services. “To give these students a chance to achieve their full potential and reach their dreams without the burden of cost is something we need to do. They have been through so much, battling their illness, and deserve every opportunity to excel and become tomorrow’s leaders.”

Jean battled sickle cell disease since birth and was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago. She had a bone marrow transplant as part of treatment and is now cancer free. To be close to her family and sisters, she plans to attend FSW and study nursing and hopes to work at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

“My passion is helping people,” she said. “I discovered what I wanted to do when I was just a little girl because nurses have always been in my life. They have taken care of me and have given me the love and support I needed through the tough times. I want to do the same for little kids who are going through these terrible diseases, like my nurses did for me.”

Calixte, 21, has been in Golisano Children’s Hospital’s sickle cell program since birth. He plans to transfer this fall to University of Central Florida to continue his nursing degree with hopes also to work at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

“I appreciate each and every one of you so much,” Calixte said. “You all have been taking care of me since day one, and I don’t know what I’d do without you. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me, and I can’t thank you enough.”

For more information about Barbara’s Friends or to donate to help fund treatments or future scholarships, please visit BarbarasFriends.org.

About Barbara’s Friends – Helping Kids with Cancer at Golisano Children’s Hospital

Established in 1995, Barbara’s Friends provides equipment, staffing and services to support lifesaving cancer care for children from across Southwest Florida at Golisano Children’s Hospital. The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program is the only program of its kind in Southwest Florida and has served over 10,000 patients since opening. No child is denied treatment or turned away as a result of their family’s inability to pay for care. For more information about the Barbara’s Friends fund and supporting child patients in your community, please call Lee Health Foundation at (239) 343-6950 or visit BarbarasFriends.org.

About Lee Health Foundation 

Lee Health Foundation raises philanthropic dollars on behalf of Lee Health including Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, HealthPark Medical Center, Lee Memorial Hospital, and Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. The Foundation provides financial support for many service areas including the Lee Health Regional Cancer Center, Lee Health – Coconut Point, The Rehabilitation Hospital, Shipley Cardiothoracic Center, Community Health Clinics and Golisano Children’s Hospital Specialty Clinics in both Port Charlotte and Naples. Please visit LeeHealthFoundation.org or call (239) 343-6950 for more information about the role of Lee Health philanthropy in Southwest Florida.