Hopes to Serve Cancer Patients Experiencing Physical or Mental Effects from Treatment

Growing up in a farm in rural Wisconsin, I always thought I wanted to work with horses as an adult. Caring for my horses’ nutrition, creating training and exercise programs for the performance horses, and rehabilitating any injured horses were my favorite activities. This dream lasted until the beginning of my sophomore year when I noticed a few things off with my personal health. As a result of my declining health, I became very interested in human health, and by the end of the sophomore year of high school, I was diagnosed with cancer.

For the next year, I was in and out of the hospital and surgical room hoping reality was a dream with a positive outcome. High school was a struggle as battling cancer was a hard situation for myself and others to grasp. After a year, the treatment worked, and to this day, I am cancer free. My battle with cancer has taught me a lot about myself and how I want to impact the world. There are always going to be difficulties to face in life, however, the most important part of overcoming those difficulties lies in the response. I used my battle with cancer to gain strength and motivation for my future. I continued to participate in the activities I enjoyed even when they became difficult because I knew they were vital for both my physical health and mental well-being.

Managing high school while battling cancer was difficult, but I used this situation to give me an even greater motivation to succeed in college. I have maintained my GPA while holding jobs, even physically challenging ones. All of my experiences have molded me into a stronger and more driven person. My experience with cancer also taught me how precious life truly is.  I want to make a positive difference in the lives of people by helping others find meaning the same way I found strength, hope, and resilience through motivating physical activities.

During my cancer treatments, the oncologist’s knowledge delivery and compassion largely influenced my seemingly drastic career change from equine to human health. The hospital setting opened my eyes to a potential career in rehabilitation within the healthcare field. As I began evaluating different careers, occupational therapy was a perfect fit for me because it combined the rehabilitation and mental health components that have fascinated me since my cancer diagnosis. The oncologist offered guidance and assurance in a time of need, and I would be honored to be able to return the favor to others through occupational therapy. In the future, as an occupational therapist, I want to encourage others to reach their goals, include the patient in the treatment process, and improve their physical and mental well-being through meaningful activity.

After I finish graduate school, my primary goal is to begin working within an oncology setting and be of service to cancer patients experiencing any physical or mental effects from the treatment or treatment process. As I have experienced first-hand, offering hope and a sense of normalcy during a time of need is critical to the recovery process, which I want to be a part of. I sincerely enjoy how holistic and all-encompassing the field of occupational therapy is for an individual. Helping others find useful activities to bring hope and motivation during tough life experiences is something I am now dedicated to. I want to make a difference and genuinely believe I have the motivation, determination, maturity, and resilience to make a positive change not only within the field of occupational therapy but also in the lives of patients.

We are proud to announce Shelby Manor is one of the current DiversityJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook and other social media sharing options in left column) and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.


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  • An honest submission by an honest woman. This girl had truly worked hard to follow her dreams and is incredibly passionate about where she’s going. A woman well worth considering for the honor of receiving this scholarship.

  • Shelby is an inspiration to so many people.. her smile is contagious, and her heart is full of compassion and kindness to everyone.. she is a survivor! She wil be the change for so many..

  • I had Shelby as a student during her high school years. She was and still is a strong, kind and caring person. She will do amazing things!

  • Shelby is such a deserving recipient of this scholarship. She is one of those individuals who continues to impress with her hard-working and compassionate nature.

  • I have worked closely with Shelby over the past two years on her research and as the Director of the Honors Program. In my 25 years of working with students, Shelby stands out as one of the most talented, sincere, and driven students I have met. Not only does she deserve this type of scholarship, but she will also represent your organization well in the future by succeeding greatly.

  • I’ve known Shelby for seventeen years, but was fortunate enough to understand her in a whole new context by happenstance. You will never meet a more wholesome or driven woman, or experience such a genuine force of life than the one you experience in Shelby Manor.

  • Shelby is an amazing student and overall person! Couldn’t think of a more derserving individual than herself!

  • Shelby is definitely a hardworking and genuine person. I admire her drive to make a real difference in the world!

  • Watching Shelby grow up and mature into the exceptional, talented and compassionate young woman she is has been inspiring and humbling. Cancer had been only one of the challenges she had faced in her young life, yet she takes those challenges and creates opportunities to better not only herself but those around her. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the award – she is hard- working, motivated and goal oriented but most importantly will use her skills to benefit others more so than even herself because that is who she is!

  • A very sweet and loving young adult. She is so smart and willing to use her intelligence to help others. She is so loved by her family and friends including her horses! I know that her Mom and Dad struggle to help her pay for her (and her brother’s) college education. This scholarship would be so needed for Shelby and she would pay it forward with all her magical touch, motivation, determination, maturity, and resilience to make a positive change in the lives of her patients.

  • I truly believe she will not only succeed in her field of occupational therapy but she’ll go on to do great things and help many patients along the way!

  • You know how ‘they’ say the younger generations don’t understand the meaning of a hard day’s work? Well, they haven’t met Shelby Manor.

    Shelby has worked hard for EVERYTHING. She’s worked hard on her farm, trained horses, competed, won some and lost some, gotten up early for chores and stayed up late for school work, and even got a job at a care facility to help take care of her grandpa. And cancer?! Cancer didn’t have a chance with her. A kid this determined was going to win. NO DOUBT ABOUT IT.

    Shelby is humble. Her dad managed to always keep a car running for her, albeit not a pretty one, and I’m sure he taught her a few tricks to keep it running in a pinch. She is resourceful, and always figures out a way to make things work. Shelby consistently drove two hours away to job shadow and gain experience in an Occupational Therapy setting, allowing her to be absolutely certain this is what she wanted to do.

    Shelby WILL. NOT. FAIL. Failure is not in her DNA. Cancer knew it, and her family and friends know it, too.

    Scholarships are made for people like Shelby. Beating odds, rising up, taking hits, persevering, busting hump, being kind, giving back, and staying humble. A person with these qualities will not only make the best of a scholarship, but will continue to pay it forward.

    Shelby Manor is THAT PERSON. Please consider her for this scholarship.

  • Congratulations Shelby on what you have already accomplished and I’m sure you will continue to reach your goals in the future!

  • As an Occupational Therapist and mentor to Shelby, I highly recommend Shelby for this scholarship. I 100 percent agree with all of the comments already submitted, but I would also like to add that in the medical setting, Shelby is mature beyond her years. When it comes to interacting with patients, she gets it. Shelby’s calm demeanor puts the patients at ease and allows them to see that Shelby can not only relate to them, but also that she cares. Shelby will no doubt be a highly successful OT and make a positive difference in many people’s lives !

  • So proud of you Shelby!! You are so determined and driven. You will be a great assist in your field. Stay strong and determined ❤️

  • Shelby definitely is a hard working, dedicated young woman. She continues to have a positive attitude throughout her life. Her compassion for people and animals is tremendous. I’m excited where her life will take her in the future. She would be an excellent choice for a scholarship.

  • Shelby is a very caring girl A hard worker responsible Her love for people and animals is amazing . She has always met her struggles head on. A smile for everyone

  • The other day I had the pleasure of meeting Shelby again since she was a teenager. I was instantly at ease and impressed with her way of connecting. Her accomplishments, her goals, her life experiences have clearly made her a person of substance. There’s no doubt that Shelby will be a smart and sensitive contributor to the world through her life of service. I’m excited to watch her go!

  • What an incredible journey this young lady has been on, all leading to a future career in changing lives. Its refreshing seeing someone with goals to change the world for the better and being an advocate for healing is such a beautiful way to give back. Shelby definitely fits the description of someone deserving of a scholarship.

  • Shelby will do great things whether in the oncology department, or any department! She is a hard worker and a talented individual who comes from a great family! I’m so excited for her to achieve her dreams!

  • Shelby is such a caring and compassionate person, her warm smile, outgoing personality, and positive attitude are such an inspiration to all who know her. She is very dedicated to achieving the goals she sets for herself. She is such a deserving candidate for the scholarship. Good luck, Shelby!!

  • I have known Shelby all of her life, and seen her develope in many things she’s done. From raising horses, and barrel racing, to becoming a strong young woman. She has beat cancer and kept a top grade level in her schooling , all the while working , she has achieved so much in her young life and continues to grow , Shelby is worthy of all the help she can get , so in her assistance in schooling will not be of waste , she’s a never ending source of growth and influence , God Bless her!

  • Wonderful, caring, courageous, and beautiful – inside and out. Shelby not only believes anything is possible, she makes her dreams come true.

  • What Shelby’s essay didn’t say about her is her ability to be non-judgmenal, empathetic, and compassionate. Shelby understands the many barriers some patients may face while receiving treatment such as poverty, and struggles with mental and chemical health. Shelby also understands “isms” such as racism, agism, and sexism. Not only does Shelby understand seen and unseen discrimination, but she fights against it. Shelby is also culturally sensitive, understanding that her culture may not reflect her clients culture.

  • Shelby Manor is one of the most talented and dedicated person I know. I can’t honestly think of anyone more deserving than her. She has a very important purpose in life and being an occupational therapist is exactly what her calling is. I can guarantee she will be one of the best in her field and will make a true difference one patient at a time.

  • A very deserving young lady! Continue to fight your battle against cancer and good luck in your future endeavors.

  • This is beautifully and honestly written. This woman deserves the opportunity to move forward in this career; she will be a fantastic OTR!

  • What an inspiration you are Shelby. It takes determined, strong willed passionate individuals like you that can truly make a difference in this world. You could be our next cure, and much more hope for people with cancer. Keep following your dreams with such great force you have shown already, and I know you will go far. Good luck on your education and future plans.

  • Being part of an intelligent, dedicated, hardworking, caregiving family is huge as well as important to Shelby’s future success. Shelby is motivated to proceed in getting her degree. This scholarship will be a blessing to accomplish her goal. Thank you for considering this well deserved candidate.

  • Shelby is a very hard working and compasionate person. She is wise beyond her years. She is a wonderful role model to my daughter. I believe she has the patience and the ability to change lives; and she will there is no doubt in my mind. A scholarship is not only something she is deserving of but something that will be used to touch so many lives through her.

  • Shelby Manor is a highly qualified candidate for this scholarship. Her academics and her life experiences have been instrumental in her choice of her future career. Please consider her as your choice and you will not be disappointed.

  • We are very proud of you Shelby. I am positive you will achieve all of your goals and dreams. You deserve this scholarship!

  • Shelby is and always will be an inspiration. Her goal of offering care and compassion based on her own personal experience will positively affect many lives in the future.

  • Shelby is an amazing person and with all that she has been through; she is most deserving of this scholarship. She has the grit and determination as well as the compassion to make a difference in this field.

  • I could go on for days about what an incredible person Shelby is. But I will make this short. Shelby never had the easiest life. She was in and out of hospitals and had surgery for bladder and kidney issues by the time she was 4. Shelby’s Dad and I divorced when she was 10 and then the dreaded “C” word when she was a teenager. It was easy back then to be angry and question God why he would put my child through that. But looking back now I realize God put Shelby through those situations because he knew she was strong and could handle it but most importantly those situations molded her into the amazing person she is today. Shelby never once complained about her situation and she never felt sorry for herself. She went through 3 surgeries and a years worth of infusions. She always kept a positive attitude. Shelby never really talked about her cancer back then and never really told to many people about it. She didn’t want to be treated differently and she didn’t want people to feel sorry for her, she just wanted to be normal. Shelby kicked cancers butt and has been in remission for a little over 5 years. I’m very proud of Shelby and the person she has become. I couldn’t ask for a better child. I have no doubt that Shelby will go on to do amazing things with her life, she will excel at everything she does and she will always go above and beyond. Shelby will be amazing in her OT field because she understands. This scholarship would help Shelby so much. She will definitely pay it forward.

  • Shelby is one of the most kind, caring, and dedicated individuals I’ve ever met. I can’t think of a more deserving candidate for such an opportunity. Her dedication and passion for helping others truly shines through.

  • What beautiful and wise words you have written! You are so brave and determined. I am so sad you have had to suffer but so glad you have survived and thrived. I have no doubt you will be a continuous inspiration to others and utilize your experiences to help improve your future field! I can’t wait to see what you continue to do with your life!

  • Shelby has worked very hard to get where she is at. She is very deserving of this scholarship and will put it to good use to better her future.

  • I’ve known Shelby since she was a toddler and watching her mature into the exceptional young woman she is has been my pleasure. I can’t think of anyone more deserving. Without a doubt, she is an asset to this world and most deserving of the award. She uses her kindness and skills to help others and that’s a trait more people should possess!

  • Shelby will be a tremendous asset to the field of Occupational Therapy! Amazing personality and dedicated to her studies.

  • Shelby is a very dedicated, hard working, responsible young lady. She is a very deserving of a scholarship and she will go a long way in whatever she does.

  • Shelby has grown into a amazing young woman. Through her cancer battle she remained positive and kept smiling, even though I’m sure there were many times it would have been easy not to. She will excel at anything she sets out to do!!!
    Best of luck Shelby, you deserve it!!!

  • What an inspirational story from such a young remarkable girl.
    She deserves this scholarship. Her cancer took it’s toll on her finances.
    Hats off to you for sharing your story. I’m positive that you will be a leader in your field. You have the heart and determination to succeed.

  • Shelby is an amazing young women who’s perseverance has carried her through some scary things. She puts forth actions demonstrating strengths rarely seen in someone so young. She is one person I have no doubt will succeed regardless what path she chooses and will accomplish it with compassion for others as well. Very deserving of any scholarships as she will use it to do her best!

  • What an amazing young lady! I have no doubt that she will go on to do wonderful things. Her drive and ambition has pulled her through very tough times and she has persevered through it all with such grace. Blessing Shelby with a scholarship would enable her to continue to do what she loves and “pay it forward” to others. So incredibly proud of you Shelby and your beautiful and supportive mom.

  • Shelby has over come so many things in her life and still came out smiling. She truly deserves the scholarship and will no doubt put her heart and soul into her future.

  • It’s awesome you have choose to give back to people after everything you have been through your compassion with be greatly appreciated .

  • Shelby, I so enjoyed your post! You show so much compassion. You will be a wonderful advocate for cancer patients. What a wonderful field you have chosen. All my best-Lynn.

  • As someone with training as an OTA, I have no doubt that your drive and focus will help you make a tremendous footprint in the field of OT. You possess the determination and focus needed to help your patients find ways to do things for themselves they never dreamed possible. Best of luck in your education, Shelby!