Return to mobile version

Wishing Well Blog

Harrison's Path to Success

Kurt Weiss 2020 Winning Essay
Every year, the Pittsburgh Pirates Charities and Make-A-Wish® partner together to award scholarships to wish kids pursuing secondary education. This year, we have awarded 48 wish kids with monetary gifts to continue their academic career.

To receive a scholarship, wish kids are asked to submit an application including an essay about their experience of being a wish kid and how it has impacted their life.

This year, our best essay award goes to 18-year-old Harrison of Bridgeville, PA. In June of 2019, he was granted his wish to go to the Ferrari, Lamborghini and Pagani Headquarters in Bologna, Italy. Take a look at Harrison's award-winning essay:

"At 14, I was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin lymphoma before my freshman year of high school. Having relapsed twice, my last four years have consisted of hundreds of chemotherapy treatments, three sessions of radiation and two stem cell transplants. During my junior year, I was glad to discover that the treatment had worked and that I was cancer-free. Over the past year, I have had time to reflect on the extensive interactions I have had with oncologist Dr. Stanley Marks, and my purpose for life was illuminated. I want to be an oncologist. 

Oncology, which began as a mere interest for me, has now developed into a passion. In high school, I completed two career shadows at the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. During my sophomore year, I shadowed Dr. A. Kim Ritchey, and his constant effort to distract pediatric patients away from worrying about their cancer gave them and their families hope. During my junior year, I shadowed Dr. Craig A. Byersdorfer, whose research about graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) has been instrumental in helping cancer patients. My shadowing experiences allowed me to understand both sides of oncology and has solidified my areas of focus for my undergraduate studies.

After high school, I will attend either the University of Pittsburgh’s Honors College or Case Western Reserve University to pursue a pre-medicine track of learning. Following completion, I plan on attending medical school to become an oncologist. I believe I should be chosen for the Kurt R. Weiss Scholarship because my goal in life is to give back to the same medical community to which I owe my life to, and I plan to accomplish this by treating patients with empathy to ensure that they feel they have someone fighting cancer right alongside them."

- Harrison

A Special Thank You

Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia would like to thank Wheels, Wings and Wishes, our 2020 Award Winning Essay Sponsor. This year's sponsorship was made in memory of Bernie Augier.

Wheels, Wings and Wishes

Are you a rising senior or junior in high school? 

Keep an eye out for next year's Kurt Weiss Scholarship deadline. If you want to help support wishes at your school, become a member of the Make-A-Wish® Youth Leadership Council. For more information on scholarships or becoming a Youth Leadership Council member, contact Jake Seavy at or 412.471.9474.

About this Blog

This blog brings Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia to you -- sharing first-person stories of the Make-A-Wish experience and the impact of a wish from the perspectives of wish families, volunteers and staff. This blog highlights wishes come true and the special people in Pennsylvania and West Virginia that help create life-changing experiences for every eligible child.

Join the conversation

Leave a Comment
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Inc.
The Gulf Tower
707 Grant Street, 37th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1938
(412) 471-9474
Toll Free (800) 676-9474
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Southern West Virginia Office
888 Oakwood Rd
Oakwood Center, Suite 330
Charleston, WV 25314
(304) 342-9474
Toll Free (800) 664-9474
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Northern West Virginia Office
913 Canyon Road
Morgantown, WV 26508
(304) 292-5600
Toll Free (888) 808-9474