Funding possibilities: An interview with Luka Garvin

Starting post-secondary education is no doubt a challenging time for many young people. There are the pressures of cramming in coursework, studying for exams, and covering the growing expenses for tuition, books, accommodation, and food, to name a few.

Now, on top of the above pressures, imagine you have a physical disability where you cannot walk to class, take notes for yourself, or physically care for yourself while you go to school. This is the case for Luka Garvin, who is studying at the University of Victoria.

Luka has cerebral palsy with dystonic-quadriplegic patterns, present with a spinal deformity, pelvic obliquity, and leg length discrepancy. She made the brave decision to go to post-secondary despite these physical challenges, and despite anyone thinking she shouldn’t go or wouldn’t belong.

“I’m proud that I’ve made my mark whether it’s good or bad. I’ve made myself heard, no matter what people think of me,” said Luka.

Luka is a recipient of the Lisa Huus bursary, which was created to assist people with physical disabilities to begin or continue post-secondary education. Money she received has gone toward a personal support worker that she relies on for day-to-day challenges, but it’s not just the financial support she’s received.

“It’s helped me have my own support worker, but it’s also helped with my confidence. It’s helped me realize I’m worth something.”

She’s majoring in creative writing, but she’s studying a wide variety of subjects including sociology. “I really want to end up writing screenplays, or critiquing movies.”

For most able-bodied students, post-secondary expenses often accumulate over about four years until they’ve completed their degree, and then they can work to pay it all off. For students with disabilities like Luka, course loads often have to be shortened and spread out over a longer period of time, and it can take many more years to complete a degree.  There are also the added expenses including personal support workers, or added supplies including tape recorders let alone all of the books.

Luka encourages other students to apply for the bursary to help realize their potential as well and have the same sense of self-worth.

When asked what one of her fondest memories has been at UVic, Luka said “it’s been learning different things, and that people inspire me and I inspire them. It’s a give and take symbiotic relationship. It’s a great way to get out into the world.”

The Lisa Huus Memorial Fund was created in memory of Lisa Pauline Huus in 1988 by her family and has been supported by personal donations and fundraising activities for 30 years. Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island is now accepting applications for the bursary, and successful applicants will be awarded up to $5,000 for 2018/2019. Applications are due 31 May 2018. To learn more or to apply, visit our Lisa Huus page here.

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