Riverbend Family Ministries (RFM) board members presented this year’s winners for the Grace Skief Memorial Volunteer Scholarship. The three winners are: Erin Zobrist (Civic Memorial High School), Skylar King (Civic Memorial High School), and Darby Hobbs (Roxanna High School).
Skylar King is going to major in special education and plans on attending Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville in the fall. Erin Zobrist is going to major in Science and will be attending Lewis and Clark Community College in the fall. Darby Hobbs is interested in Pharmacy and has received a scholarship to St. Louis College of Pharmacy and will attend this fall.
The scholarship is named after 11 year-old, Grace Skief, who was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (D.I.P.G.), a type of cancer that attacks the brain stem. She was diagnosed in April 2015 and lost her battle just a few months later in July. Skief and her family attended RFM’s Annual Trivia Fundraiser and she would volunteer as a “runner,” collecting everyone’s answer sheets.
“I’ll always remember her energetic smile and personality,” said RFM Executive Director, Tammy Iskarous. “Gracie’s time on earth was precious, she touched many lives and knew the importance of volunteering and giving back in the community and that’s what made me realize we had to do something in her honor.”
The scholarship targets students who exemplify the importance of community service and helps Grace’s story live on.
“We looked for applicants who believed in the volunteer spirit and who did more in the community than just fulfill school requirements,” said Iskarous. “Her spirit of loving people and life continues through the recipients.”
Her family continues to raise awareness for D.I.P.G. and started, Grace’s Gift. They raise money to offer financial assistance to families with children with pediatric brain cancer and D.I.P.G. that seek uncovered or alternative treatment options in the form of non-income based grants.
“In the words of our Grace, while fighting D.I.P.G. at the age of eleven and already understanding the value of life; she would always say, ‘life is too short, you gotta get to the point,’” said Grace’s mom, Kim Skief. “We at Grace’s Gift strive to do just that, by loving others the way that she would have with her actions of creativity, passion and generosity to beat brain cancer in kids, especially D.I.P.G.”
The family encourages anyone who’s interested in learning more, or to become more inspired by Grace’s story, visit www.Gracelovestogive.org. For more information on D.I.P.G. you can go to www.DefeatDIPG.org.