Brittney LaCombe was one of the LIFE Foundation’s scholarship recipients for 2012. Her story is heartbreaking.
Mother’s Day for her mother, Roseann LaCombe, meant camping with her three daughters on the beach near their St. Petersburg, Fla., home. During last year’s trip, Roseann complained of mild leg pain. Later, she couldn’t bear weight on the leg and went to the hospital, where doctors kept her for observation. The next morning her eldest daughter, Brittney, then 20, received a call informing her that her mother had died of a pulmonary embolism.
Without life insurance, the girls’ financial struggle started immediately. Roseann had worked in accounts receivable for an apparel company but was unemployed at the time of her death. She left only $300 in her bank account. Brittney’s part-time job as a customer-service representative at a local newspaper was no match for the bills.
A week after Roseann died, shut-off notices arrived for the electric and water services, and the bank called every day looking for payment on the mortgage for their three-bedroom house with a pool. By the end of the month the girls, with help from Catholic Charities, moved to a small apartment. To make the rent and take care of her sisters, Brittney works full time.
The new life is taking a toll on Brittney. She was forced to cut her course load toward a social-work degree to work more hours. She suffers from anxiety, worrying that even such a meager lifestyle could unravel at any moment. “If my mom had had life insurance, we would have been able to stay in our house and pay the bills,” Brittney says. “We wouldn’t have to struggle all the time.”
But Brittney is strong willed and determined to succeed. She will be graduating from college this spring and then plans on getting her master’s degree while also raising her two sisters. She has also purchased life insurance to protect her sisters.
Brittney’s story is one of many. Just this year, the LIFE Foundation received more than 1,600 scholarship grant requests and granted 61 scholarships for $112,000. Since 2005, 500 scholarships have been granted for more than $500,000.
LIFE accepts individual contributions from those wishing to support this important initiative. Your financial support can make a world of difference for a young person struggling to afford a college education due to the loss of a parent or guardian. Donations to the LIFE Lessons Scholarship Fund are tax-deductible. If you would like to help a deserving student, go to www.lifehappens.org/life-donation-form.
For more from Marvin Feldman, see: