CF patient one of 40 to receive $2,500 scholarship for college

Published: Aug. 17, 2010 at 6:20 PM CDT
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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Released by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler:

TYLER, TX - Meghan Searer, 20, a patient with cystic fibrosis at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, will be recognized for being awarded a $2,500 SolvayCARES college scholarship at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18, in the Red and Kim Little Conference Room on the UTHSCT campus, 11937 U.S. Highway 271 in Tyler.

She is one of just 40 people in the United States to receive this  scholarship, which was created 18 years ago to honor young adults with CF as they pursue their education past high school. The scholarships are awarded based on creativity, academic excellence, community involvement, and ability to serve as a positive role model for the CF community.

CF is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States. A defective gene causes the body to make thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and causes serious lung infections. CF also hinders how the body breaks down and absorbs food.

As part of the application process, Searer submitted an original drawing. During tomorrow's event, UTHSCT President Dr. Kirk A. Calhoun will present her with the framed drawing and a book published by SolvayCARES with the names and profiles of the 2009 winners.

Searer also received a Rotary Club Scholarship and a Patriot Scholarship, as well as a scholarship for being valedictorian of Hawkins High School in 2008.

Solvay Pharmaceuticals, which is now part of Abbott Laboratories, funds the annual scholarships. For more than 20 years, Solvay has manufactured drugs to help people with CF manage their disease.

For 60 years, The University of Texas Health Science Center has provided excellent patient care and cutting-edge treatment, specializing in pulmonary disease, cancer, heart disease, primary care, and the disciplines that support them. UTHSCT's annual operating budget of $125 million represents a major economic impact of over $287 million to the Northeast Texas region. In FY 2009, scientists in the Center for Biomedical Research were awarded 80 competitive grants and contracts totaling $14.6 million. As the academic medical center for Northeast Texas, its graduate medical education program – with residencies in family medicine and occupational medicine – provide doctors for many communities throughout the region and beyond. For more information, visit