UF Young Alumni Newsletter
Volume 3, Issue 4
November 11, 2009
Gator Tails: Farrell Simon
Young Alum Farrell Simon is making a difference in the lives of students and families across the country. In 2005, Farrell formed the Simon Cancer Foundation while he was a student at the University of Florida in honor of his father, Harvey Simon, and his struggle with cancer. Harvey was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in January 2004 and passed away in August 2006.
As the impact of cancer poses a financial burden to many individuals, Farrell saw an opportunity to improve the lives of others by creating a Foundation to financially assist cancer patients through scholarships. The Foundation gives several $500 and $1000 college scholarships every year, funded by corporate sponsors, fundraising events and Farrell's participation in triathlons, such as the Ironman. Additionally, the Foundation holds regular events to raise awareness of their scholarships and to provide support for individuals and families that are suffering with cancer.
The impact he has made in students' lives is immeasurable. Rachel Lozano, a recent scholarship recipient said, "This scholarship has helped tremendously and we are forever grateful in helping me attain my goal of becoming an art therapist to help others."
Farrell graduated from the University of Florida in 2007 with his Doctor of Pharmacy and a Masters of Business Administration. Farrell is currently working at Procter & Gamble as an Assistant Brand Manager in Personal Health Care in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he recently received the prestigious Inspirational Person Award in January 2009. He completed Ironman Arizona in April 2007 and the Escape from Alcatraz in June 2009.
For those Gators in NYC, the Simon Cancer Foundation is hosting an event on November 16 at Hudson Terrace. For more information, visit www.thescf.org.
The Daily Texan
July 21, 2009
Scholarship for cancer patients
by Yijiao Zhuang
Andrea Stang, a UT English and UTeach junior, is four years in remission from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
After Stang’s successful battle with cancer, she was granted the Arlene M. Walker Memorial Scholarship this year. The Simon Cancer Foundation awards the $500 scholarships to select college students who are cancer patients or survivors.
The application process consists of a grade point average requirement and an essay, as well as a demonstration of community service, leadership and health condition, Stang said. In her essay, Stang spoke about her experience as a cancer patient in high school.
“Sophomore year of high school, I ran track and was used to being really active,” Stang said. “As the year went on, it got to a point where I couldn’t walk around the block, and I knew that something wasn’t right.”
Stang was diagnosed with stage II, type A Hodgkin’s lymphoma in February 2005 at the age of 16. She went through chemotherapy and radiation until August 2005.
According to the National Cancer Institute, Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a form of cancer that affects the immune system and shows symptoms in the spleen, lymph nodes and other immune tissues. Out of the 8,510 Americans diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2009, an estimated 1,290 will die from this disease.
“I began chemo immediately because the cancer had spread to the upper half of my body,” Stang said. “I consider myself lucky that I was under 18 when I was diagnosed. It allowed me to have access to a pediatric oncologist that was very helpful in getting me the treatment and services I needed.”
During treatment, Stang tried to live her life as normally as possible by engaging in regular teenage activities like school, work and sports. Even though her peers never commented on her condition, Stang was always aware that she was a little different.
“High school is brutal in general,” Stang said. “For me, I decided to shave my head and wear a wig when I started to lose hair, and I broke up with my boyfriend at the time because I didn’t think it was fair for me to hold him back when I couldn’t always go out.”
Stang’s medical expenses also brought on financial responsibilities for her parents.
“Thankfully, we had a good insurance plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield at the time,” said Debbie Hattan, Stang’s mother. “If we had experienced what had happened in the current economic situation, it would have been a different story.”
Stang’s grandparents also set aside money for their grandchildren’s college fund when they sold their house. Stang contributed in her own way by selling bracelets and applying for scholarships like the one she received through the cancer foundation.
Farrell Simon, founder of the organization, said it was established in 2005 as a way to give back to college students who have been affected by cancer.
“Our goal is to reward them by alleviating their funds, and eventually acquire enough sponsorship to provide full-tuition scholarships,” Simon said.
About 100 students applied for the 12 scholarship spots in 2009, Simon said. The money then goes directly to the school so that the student may use it for tuition or textbooks.
Stang said her experience with cancer has encouraged her to give back to other female teenage patients who might need a role model.
“I want to be able to reach out to these girls and help them in a way that I never got when I was going through this,” Stang said. “Living through cancer has taught me to be thankful for what I have — you learn who your real friends are, and that your family will support you through anything.”