Erin Dodson Memorial SCHOLARSHIP
In 2012, the Brian Morden Foundation decided to honor Erin Dodson, a “BMF kid,” 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.
The AAHS girls’ volleyball team has been instrumental in raising funds for Erin’s scholarship. Annual match-ups between local rivals Hollidaysburg Area (PA) High School and Bishop Guilfoyle (Altoona, PA) High School girls’ volleyball teams have also been helpful in raising funds. In 2021, the Dodson family and the Brian Morden Foundation decided to open the scholarship up to seniors from Hollidaysburg Area High School as well as Bishop Guilfoyle High School who are pursuing a post-secondary school degree.
Erin Dodson Memorial Scholarship
Sponsored by the Brian Morden Foundation
Erin Dodson graduated in 2004 from Altoona Area High School. She was a 3-sport student athlete. She played volleyball, basketball, and softball. Although she loved all sports, her true passion was volleyball. She was a 2-time Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association (PVCA) First Team All-‐State player. In the Fall of 2004, she attended Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA. Just two weeks into her freshman year, she was diagnosed with brain cancer.
For the next 7 ½ years, Erin battled the disease. She took on cancer every day. The cancer and the side effects from treatments played havoc on her body. She lost her hair to radiation treatments – it never grew back. She could no longer drive a car because she had problems with vision and depth perception. She struggled with short-term memory loss and she had a jerk in her left leg when she walked, but she absolutely refused to use a walking cane. With all that the cancer took from her, this tall, bald, and beautiful young woman continued tolive her life as fully as possible with grace, a sense of humor, and a positive attitude.
She tried to return to her academic studies at Juniata College twice. The first time was just one year after her initial diagnosis. She couldn’t walk and used a motorized scooter to get around the college campus, but the cancer cameback and she had to leave her studies again for more treatments.
Recurrences of the cancer were the most difficult times for Erin, but she always projected a positive attitude and a true concern for others. When talking to people about her cancer, she would say, “Don’t worry. I’ll be okay. Are you okay?” When Erin couldn’t play sports anymore, she became the ultimate team player by cheering in the stands forothers, or giving them a high-‐five for their accomplishments. When she would be out in public and she wouldnotice a small child staring at her, she would immediately kneel down and say “I was sick and I lost my hair. It’sokay.” She loved children and wanted them to be comfortable with people who looked different.
Erin did volunteer work at a local hospital and participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. She wasa Buddy for the Blair County Miracle League and she was an active ambassador for childhood cancer awareness through the Brian Morden Foundation. She loved listening to music on the radio and her favorite movies were “Forrest Gump” and “The Sandlot.”
The Erin Dodson Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to young men and women who participate in any high school athletics, who appreciate doing volunteer work, and have completed all parts of this application. Their higher education course of study should include one of the following: education, communications or medicine. The maximum award for an individual scholarship is $1000. Applicants should be US citizens and a high school graduate of Altoona Area High School (Altoona, PA), Hollidaysburg (PA) Area High School or Bishop Guilfoyle High School (Altoona, PA) as of the summer of 2021.
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All applications should include 1 letter of recommendation/support (excluding family members) that would attest to your character. Your reference should email his/her letter of recommendation/support to [email protected] by March 21, 2021. In the subject line please ask him/her to include “Reference for” and your name.
Complete applications should be submitted by March 21, 2021
Questions? Contact [email protected]