Family and Friends of Laura Sakoski

Family and Friends of Laura Sakoski

The Laura Sakoski scholarship seeks to honor the spirit that she displayed in both her life and in her journey with cancer. This award provides financial assistance to students who have received a diagnosis of cancer at some point in their lives.

Laura was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on September 7, 1985. She attended Beckwith Elementary School and City High School. Laura was diagnosed in April of 2002 with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 16 1/2, while she was a junior at City High School in Grand Rapids. Her favorite subjects were Math, Art, and History, in which she excelled. She was involved in swimming and soccer, which she enjoyed tremendously. Laura went on to study at Grand Rapids Community College.

Laura enjoyed watching sports – University of Michigan football, the Detroit Pistons, the Detroit Tigers, Michigan State University basketball and much more. She also enjoyed scrapbooking, camping, shopping and traveling; particularly to New York, where she went on her Make-a-Wish trip in the spring of 2004.

At the time of her death, September 1, 2006, Laura was a sophomore at Grand Valley State University majoring in social work.

Laura could not start college at the same time as her friends. She endured many treatments of chemotherapy and had two bone marrow transplants. She had one in the summer of 2003. She relapsed in December of that year. She had her second transplant in the summer of 2004, after which she remained cancer free until her unexpected death.

Laura endured terrible stress, sadness and worry about financial expenses during her battle with cancer. She fought for four and a half years and never gave up her goal of attending college. Receiving a quality education was crucial for Laura if she wanted to become a success. She felt college was the “next step” in becoming an adult; experiencing college as a whole. It was what shapes you.

Laura was a hard worker and believed that the best rewards come to those who patiently work hard. She believed that what does not break us will only make us stronger. Things that we are afraid of are going to show us what we are made of in the end. Laura also felt dealing with cancer was no walk in the park, but that she would be a much stronger person in the end.

This scholarship in Laura’s memory is to honor her spirit and determination by assisting others who have faced the challenges of dealing with cancer.


“I want to be able to help children that are in the situation I was in when I was little and diagnosed with my cancer. This award supports me because it will help me … pay for the additional schooling I will need to become a Nurse Practitioner specializing in Oncology and Pediatrics.” – CB