Brian Andrew Morden was an amazing young man. He was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a bone cancer, at the age of 16, and began his first of more than 100 chemotherapy treatments on his seventeenth birthday, January 10, 2001. He fought this horrendous disease for more than 2 years, and what his friends remember most about him was that he rarely, if ever, complained about his misfortune and that he shared his love, gentleness, and kindness with those he met.
Brian loved computers, particularly playing Bungie games such as Myth and then Halo on the Xbox, chatting with friends, and experimenting with applications like Photoshop. Brian was fortunate to take a Make-A-Wish trip to Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, where he not only met the creators of the Bungie games, but also had a chance to play Halo with them even before it was released to the public. During this trip Brian was asked to add his voice to the Halo game, so Brian’s voice is now immortalized on Halo.
Brian was also a very talented musician who often let others take the solos. He delighted in hitting the very high notes on his trumpet and loved playing in the stands at football games and in the jazz band. John Coltrane and Miles Davis were two of his favorite composers and performers.
Brian loved to read, especially fantasy, especially Tolkien, whom he started reading in elementary school long before the Peter Jackson movies revived an interest in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Brian believed there was no better writer than Tolkien. Brian also loved movies – many of the great classics such as Lawrence of Arabia and The Godfather. He was thrilled when Peter Jackson made The Lord of the Rings. Luckily, he was able to see the first two movies from the trilogy. Brian was accepted at Penn State University Park to study video and filmmaking. He was unable to attend due to his cancer.
The Brian Morden Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to young men and women who have a fascination with technology and a love of music, and have completed all parts of this application. The maximum award for an individual scholarship is $1000. Applicants should be US citizens and a high school graduate as of the summer of 2020. Their higher education course of study should include either music, some aspect of technology, or medicine. They should possess qualities of what was best about Brian – a gentle person who shared his love and kindness with those he met.
Since 2003, 41 young people have been touched by Brian's legacy, each receiving a Brian Morden Memorial Scholarship of either $500 or $1000 towards their higher education degree. This has been made possible by many including Brian's Grammy and Poppop who, each year on Brian's birthday, make a donation so that one more young person can receive a scholarship.
Danica Myers (cancer survivor)
Chris Riopelle (lost his battle to cancer in 2010)
Rocco Catrone (cancer survivor)
Evan West (cancer survivor)
||Amanda Freeman (cancer survivor)
||Griffin Lynch (cancer survivor)
Natalie Seale (cancer survivor)
Kenna Brooke Holtzclaw (cancer survivor)
Hannah Kautz (cancer survivor)
India Dunning (cancer survivor)
Gary Yost, III (cancer survivor)
Kallai Hokanson (cancer survivor)
CJ Mason (cancer survivor)
Isabella Ramirez (cancer survivor)
Aidan Hendrickson (cancer survivor)
In 2012, the Brian Morden Foundation decided to honor another cancer patient who lost her life in 2011. Erin Dodson was a wonderful ambassador for the BMF and a delightful human being. Together with her parents, Bernie and Michelle Dodson, the BMF established the Erin Dodson Memorial Scholarship for Altoona Area High School seniors. The first Erin Dodson Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Lauren Hippo in May 2012. In 2013, Joe Settemio and Shania Feathers shared the scholarship. 2014's winner was Alexis Palfey. Chad Allender was the 2015 recipient and in 2016 Andrea Parrish and Emily Little shared the scholarship honors. Mykenah Massar was the 2017 recipient. In 2018, Lindsey Hallinan was awarded Erin's scholarship and in 2019, Isabella Zavalanski won the scholarship.
A special award was also given in 2013 to one of our own local cancer survivors ... Erin Weaver. In 2014, Diana DeBernardis, another local cancer survivor was given this same award. The BMF was happy to award Tyler McCloskey our special survivor award in 2016. In subsequent years we've been able to honor more local cancer survivors ... Abigail Fownes and Ariel Walton (2018), Isaiah Barnes (2019), Jonah Zolnak, Illana Cecilia, and Timothy Boyles (2020).
Applications may now be found here and should be completed by March 21, 2021.