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Scholarship donations create unlimited possibilities

June 27, 2011

Scholarship donations create unlimited possibilities
Aaron Lillie, BMOS'12, Finance and Administration - recipient of the 2010/11 Reinhard Konrad Memorial Bursary

Aaron Lillie has endured the physical and emotional distress of a spinal cord injury, but thanks to compassionate donors such as Richard Konrad, he has been able to return to school with some financial relief.

After his first year at Western, Aaron suffered a devastating spinal cord injury from a diving accident and sustained paralysis from the shoulders down. Adjusting to life in a wheelchair, combined with regular physiotherapy sessions has been stressful enough without the significant increase in cost of living.

“It has become more difficult to find summer employment and pay for school,” says Aaron who grew up in Bracebridge, Ontario. “The bursary has eased the financial burden my disability has put on my family and me.”

He praises student scholarship donations and the significant impact donors have on their recipients.

“These generous people ensure that everyone has access to a post-secondary education. Finances should never stop someone with a desire to learn and student scholarship donations allow your possibilities to be unlimited. It is often hard to find the words to thank someone who has helped you in an altruistic manner, but their contributions provide so much to the recipients. They are individuals that all communities aspire to have and Western is fortunate enough to have their support.”

The Reinhard Konrad Memorial Bursary is awarded annually to two students who meet the eligibility requirements for financial need. Preference for one of the bursaries is given to a student with an identified disability such as a hearing impairment, visual impairment, learning disability or physical disability. Valued at $1,000 each, these bursaries were established by Richard Konrad in memory of his father, Reinhard Konrad, through Foundation Western.

Aaron is thankful that he has been offered the financial support needed to continue his studies at Western.

“I couldn’t ask to be anywhere else,” he says. “Western is a great environment for a learning mind. The school has great recognition as one of Canada’s premier universities.”

Although the last few years have been a challenge for Aaron, he looks forward to his life after graduation.

“I am still discovering my passions, but I have a significant interest in starting an exercise-based recovery program for others who have suffered spinal cord injuries in Southern Ontario. I also plan to pursue a career as a certified financial advisor and would like to begin investing in real estate.”

This article appeared in the 2011 edition of Student Awards Recipient Report
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