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Fighting adversity with community service: College Admission Essay Sample

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At only three-years old, my sister lost her heart-wrenching battle against cancer. Four years later, I helplessly watched as two of my most-beloved cousins lost their own lives to this disease. It was while dealing with this onslaught of heartbreak that I first learned the importance of community. I desperately wanted to provide meaningful aid, and my early feelings of helplessness sparked my desire to participate in initiatives that provide the still-much-needed research and treatment that will end cancer. Then, when I became a freshman in high-school, I discovered the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) annual Relay for Life event.

Inspired by my older brother, I followed along to an ACS meeting. There I realized that I could do more than simply walk in the Relay; I could be an officer on the planning committee. I saw this as an opportunity to reclaim some control in a situation where I felt powerless. As a Youth Champion, I turned to my community and convinced local organizations and businesses to participate in the annual event, and then helped them meet their fundraising goals. I even spearheaded a city-wide initiative, called “Paint the Town Purple,” in which student volunteers would decorate our city with purple ribbons and posters to honor those who defeated cancer and those who were not as lucky. The unity I saw growing around me as a result of the work I was doing filled me with joy and satisfaction.

Eventually, I became the President of our school’s chapter of the ACS, presiding over a new fundraiser in which we sold t-shirts decorated with the now-familiar pink and purple ribbons. We raised an astounding $3000, which was donated in its entirety to Relay for Life. Having worked tirelessly for years in the ACS, and now seeing the fruits of my labor, my heart swells with pride knowing that I benefited countless people in my community. What started as a personal ambition soon evolved into a way to not only change myself, but also enrich the lives of others.

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