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Western University Be Extraordinary The Campaign For Western

Living her dream

August 27, 2019

Olivia Lemenchick
Olivia Lemenchick, BScN'19, credits donor support with helping her achieve her goal of becoming a compassionate nurse.

Sitting by her grandmother’s bedside in the hospital, Olivia Lemenchick, BScN'19, knew she’d picked the right career.

“I saw how amazing the nurses were, and I knew I wanted to be that kind of nurse. That comforting, supportive nurse that comes in, checks on the patient and family and helps support them through their health-care journey.”

Her grandmother was in the final stages of cancer at the time, and Lemenchick had just finished her first year in Western’s nursing program.

Today, she’s a recent graduate, and full-time Registered Nurse at London Health Sciences Centre’s adult cancer care program. Witnessing the compassionate care her grandmother received in her final days solidified Lemenchick’s resolve to become a nurse.

But it was donor support that helped make her dream a reality.

Starting in the second year of her degree, Lemenchick received the Charles and Louise Hanes Continuing Award, which is given to undergraduate students based on academic achievement and demonstrated financial need. It continues each year, provided recipients meet certain academic requirements and continue to have financial need.

Over the course of her final three years of school, Lemenchick received more than $16,000.

“It made a huge difference. I was funding my own schooling, and I wanted to do well, but money is a huge stress. Knowing I had that kind of pressure off my back was an enormous relief.”

She continued working part time during her studies but reduced the number of hours. She used the newfound time to volunteer at the hospital as a liaison between doctors in the Intensive Care Unit and patient family members in the waiting room.

“Family members would be in a distraught state. The unknown is scary, so keeping them updated and being with them so they’re not alone in the waiting room was important to me.”

In addition to volunteering, Lemenchick also became a member of the Faculty of Health Sciences Students’ Council and was invited to join Sigma Theta Tau – an international honours society of nursing – because of her success in school.

Donor support, said Lemenchick, was a key part of it all.

“It was so important, and it made me a better nurse,” she said. “I’d encourage anyone to donate to Western – you might be the reason someone is able to live out their dreams.”

Interested in learning how you can support student awards at Western? Please contact Sheri Cole,, 519 661-2111 x88856

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