Mortgage Servicing Industry Supports Event Honoring Teen Cancer Survivors

On May 18, 2024, The Ruth Cheatham Foundation (TRCF), a national nonprofit providing support to teens impacted by cancer founded by Doug and Lindsay Whittmore, held its Annual Gala for Teen Cancer Survivors at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas—hosted by emcee Sam Gannon—to award scholarships and financial aid to teen cancer fighters and survivors to help further their education.  

In 2024, the National Cancer Institute projected that approximately 85,980 adolescents and young adults will face a cancer diagnosis in the U.S. It’s no secret that cancer treatment and college tuition are both expensive, and when these two factors combine, many teenagers—despite their academic desires—must forgo obtaining a college degree.

“Since our inception, our mission has been to bridge the educational opportunity gap and provide a gateway to a higher quality of life for these young cancer survivors,” said Lindsay Whittemore, Executive Director and Co-Founder of TRCF. “The incredible support from the mortgage and servicing industry has been instrumental in growing our organization and expanding our reach to support more teen survivors in need.” 

“From Surviving to Thriving” -TRCF

Photo by Sarah Hailey

Teens with cancer encounter a variety of challenges, and regrettably, they often receive very little assistance. According to TRCF, teen cancer survivors receive the least amount of support of any patient population, which is why TCRF offers four-year scholarships to help them continue their education. 

TRCF has granted 391 scholarships thus far, with a graduation rate of 81%. Some 32% of awardees are first-generation college students. TCRF has provided $1.5 million in support to teen cancer survivors since its inception. 

According to Whittemore, the involvement of industry leaders has not only provided significant financial support, but also awareness and advocacy for the cause. She stated that the participation in and attendance at the annual Gala has considerably boosted TRCF’s mission, drawing in new donors and partners who are committed to making a difference in the lives of young cancer survivors.  

The Foundation’s joint efforts with the mortgage servicing industry have allowed it to expand scholarship programs, improve educational resources, and provide comprehensive support to an increasing number of deserving teenagers. 

“Industry involvement is crucial to the success and impact of our events,” Whittmore said. “The support from the mortgage and servicing industry provides the financial backbone needed to fund our programs and scholarships to teen cancer survivors.  Participation at the Gala helps to raise awareness and garner widespread community support, which is essential for the sustainability and growth of TRCF. The industry’s commitment to our mission ensures that we can continue to make a meaningful difference in the lives of teens battling cancer, helping them to overcome educational barriers and achieve their dreams.” 

Photo by Sarah Hailey

The TRCF Annual Gala brought together experts and aspiring professionals alike to not only honor awardees, but to have a good time. On top of cocktail hour and live music performed by Olivia Bennett and the Motion Band, the event offered a three-course dinner, keynote reception, a silent auction, and raffle. 

Among the crowd of mortgage and service industry experts were this year’s scholarship awardees, some of whom recounted their personal experiences with cancer and the impact TRCF has had on their life and personal education. 

So, what can be expected at next year’s gala? 

“At next year’s gala, we are most looking forward to witnessing the continued generosity and enthusiasm from our supporters within the mortgage industry and beyond,” Whittmore said. “These events are not just fundraisers; they are a celebration of the resilience and determination of our scholars. We are excited to share the inspiring stories of our scholars’ journeys, showcase the tangible impact of our collective efforts, and build even stronger connections with our partners and donors. The gala is a testament to what we can achieve together, and we are eager to see the new heights we will reach in our mission to support more teens in need.” 

According to Whittmore, TRCF supported a total of 200 teen cancer scholars nationwide over the past year and anticipates increasing and supporting even more scholars for the upcoming academic school year.

To read more about The Ruth Cheatham Foundation, including events, scholarship information, and info about the gala’s supporting sponsor organizations, click here

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Demetria C. Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for MortgagePoint (formerly DS News and MReport) with more than eight years of writing and editing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is a jazz aficionado, Harry Potter fanatic, and likes to read. She can be reached at demetria.lester@thefivestar.com.
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