Samuel Ottery from the Sydney suburb of Turramurra had always dreamed of a career in medicine, and his cancer diagnosis in 2018 gave him an even bigger drive to succeed. He has just been named as the national winner of the $5,000 Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship. Seven other inspiring young Australians were selected as finalists.
Dare to Dream Scholarship awarded to inspiring young medic
Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of 15, Samuel faced two gruelling years of treatment where he missed important schooling, sport and time with his friends. Despite these challenges, the determined teenager graduated year 12 with an ATAR that gained him entry into a Bachelor of Medical Science at Macquarie University.
The Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship was established to inspire young people whose physical or mental health has been affected by cancer, to achieve their goals and ambitions. This scholarship, funded by Coles, helps young people build their future and can be put towards education or life goals.
Samuel’s passion to pursue a career in medicine grew throughout his treatment. While he was a patient at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, he was often asked by the medical team to speak to newly diagnosed teenagers and their parents to demystify treatments and put them at ease – a rewarding role which increased his confidence and further solidified his choice of a medical career.
This year has seen Samuel face more personal challenges. He had a hip replacement four months ago, which forced him to miss out on university, and just a few weeks ago he lost his dad suddenly, who was one of his biggest supports.
“Despite the challenges in my life, I am more determined than ever to achieve my goal and make my dad proud. Helping others is something I’ve always known I wanted to do and, having experienced cancer, I would love to help people who are in a similar situation as I could relate to them.”
“Through all of this, my GP, nurses, oncologist and orthopaedic surgeon were all incredible. Seeing how much they did for me, my family and the impact on the patients around me was a pivotal point for me and crystallised my career path,” he said.
It was Samuel’s mum Sue, a nurse for 35 years, who first inspired his passion for working in medicine. Having watched Samuel overcome countless physical challenges during his treatment, she said his sheer determination to achieve his HSC results while still receiving treatment via a central line and entry into Medical Science at university was nothing short of inspiring.
“Despite the family and doctors telling Sam he did not have to attend school, he pushed himself to achieve the results he knew he was capable of, to gain entry into his dream university course. His determination to succeed warms my heart and it gives me comfort knowing his strength after so many setbacks. This scholarship means the world to Sam and will undoubtedly help him achieve his goal,” she said.
Since 2013, Redkite and Coles have awarded more than $650,000 in Dare to Dream Scholarships to support young Australians whose aspirations and goals have been impacted by their cancer diagnosis.