Local student gives away hard-earned scholarship to stranger in need
Giving back is not usually on the minds of a lot of high school students as they are getting ready to take on the world or maybe take that next selfie. But, Chase Bradley was on a mission to give back.
"Before I even started it I knew I was going to give it away to somebody that deserved it," Chase said.
"It" is a scholarship the Hyde Park junior was trying to win. "It was very hard," Chase said.
Chase along with 13 other students around Austin were raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as part of the "Student Of The Year" competition. The student who raises the most money wins.
"I didn't think it would be that hard but it was," Chase said. "But by the end of the seven week campaign we raised $57,000."
Chase won the contest and $2,500. "I was actually overwhelmed," Chase said. "It was just all a part of a greater plan for me to do this challenge and meet Sergio."
18-year-old Sergio Garcia was a total stranger. "I was like overwhelmed because I was applying for scholarships at that moment," Sergio said.
Chase gave it all to him. "Just seeing Sergio's face and a genuine smile, it just made it all worth it," Chase said.
He knew Sergio is a cancer survivor. "It was really hard," Sergio said. "I lost my hair twice and my eyebrows."
Chase's motivation to give came out of something precious he thought was going to be taken away, his sister Hunter. "When she was a senior she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma," Chase said. "I saw the effects that it took out on her body and I saw how it financially impacted my family. Never forget it."
Chase's sister is doing great now and he wanted to pay his blessing forward, knowing what Sergio was going through in his battle. "He was fighting for his life and the last thing his family should worry about is money and financial problems," Chase said.
And even more important than the money, something else happened. "I made a new friend, honestly," Sergio said.
Maybe there's a lesson in there for all of us. Chase hopes everyone can experience what he just experienced. "I've always heard that the biggest joy is giving back to people and I've never experienced that on such a great level like I did yesterday," Chase said.