How the Lisa Huus Bursary is helping this BC student become an advocate for those with complex needs
In speaking with university student Ella, her determination and passion for making an impact become immediately clear. At only 17 years old, Ella is simultaneously enrolled in university courses at Kwantlen Polytechnic University while she finishes her high school education. With a clear vision of becoming a lawyer advocating for people living with disabilities, Ella is determined to use her experiences to give back to others.
Ella was born at only 27 weeks and spent the first six months of her life in the NICU, where she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after birth. As soon as she was able to leave the hospital, she began working with a physiotherapist to support her development. Since then, Ella has dealt with vision issues, mobility issues, and most significantly, discrimination.
“As a disabled person, you experience injustice first-hand. For me, it’s been a struggle. You just have to fight all the time for everything. For the right to be heard, to be seen, and to get up in the morning and actually go on with your day,” reflects Ella.
For as long as she can remember, Ella has been an avid reader who is passionate about learning as much as she can. This translated into a passion for education, which has led to her drive to enter the field of law.
“I know I’m one of the few people with cerebral palsy who have the ability to speak clearly. I want to advocate and be a voice so that people can understand. If I can help even one person to empathize with those with disabilities, it’s all worth it,” says Ella.
And as the long journey to become a lawyer begins for Ella, she knows that she will face years of expensive post-secondary education, including an undergraduate degree in political science as well as law school.
Thankfully, Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island’s Lisa Huus Bursary is there to support BC university students with complex health challenges like Ella. The bursary is supporting Ella in paying for tuition as well as expensive yet necessary items like a laptop, textbooks, and a backpack.
When asked about the impact of the bursary on her education, Ella reflects, “It’s going to smooth the road that I’m walking down to advocate for other people, and open the door for new opportunities that were previously closed because of financial reasons. I want to thank Children’s Health Foundation and its donors. You have no idea the impact you’ve had on me.”
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. To learn more about how the bursary supports BC youth with complex needs, visit our Lisa Huus page.