Honours student loses bursary during cancer treatment

An honours student says they lost their $19,000 university bursary after being forced to spend 40 days in hospital battling leukemia. Mike Albanese reports.

By Mike Albanese

Fighting leukemia stole a year of Kristin Wilson’s life, and then, a life-changing bursary from her university.

“She was very, very disappointed, and Kristin is usually pretty optimistic about things. So for her to be this upset, I was very, very, very upset,” explained Nicole Wilson, speaking on behalf of her sister.

“When she first got in the hospital, she brought her textbooks. I thought she was crazy, but that’s Kristin, she was just so determined. She was just so weak that some days she couldn’t talk, and there was no way for her to continue her studies even though that’s what she would have wanted to do.”

When CityNews reached out, Kristin was receiving chemotherapy, so her sister Nicole spoke on her behalf.

Kristin – the 4.0 honors student who has appeared on the University of Manitoba’s Dean’s list numerous times – was up for a $19,000 bursary. But a sudden cancer diagnosis hospitalized her for 40 days.

“There was a time where it was very, very bleak. We were looking for other options,” explained Nicole. “She just got bad news after bad news. There was a while where she may not have been able to continue chemo because her organs were shutting down.”

Kirstin got an email from the university’s Financial Aid and Awards department stating that they had altered her bursary from $19,000 to just $600 to cover the summer semester tuition because she withdrew from her Winter courses.

Kristin asked for this decision to be reconsidered because she was planning a full return to classes in 2023 – staying out of school in the meantime on a recommendation from her doctor.

“She had fulfilled her part of doing well in the fall term, and she is returning for this next term. She feels she fulfilled her obligation for this, and that this is medical discrimination.”

After CityNews contacted the University about Kristen’s bursary… We received an encouraging update… The U of M saying it will now be honoring the full bursary of $19,000.

Kristin will be returning to school in 2023 hoping to keep her 4.0 GPA and although she has another two years of aggressive chemotherapy ahead of her she’s currently cancer free.

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