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ON TO COLLEGE!!!!….

Hi everyone, I have a big announcement to make! Thanks to you I won the Montage Memory Makers Young Philanthropists College Scholarship Contest. I am so excited! I would like to give a huge thanks to anyone that voted for me or helped in any way. This means so much to me! My essay is down below in case you would like to read it.

You can read more about the Montage Memory Makers Young Philanthropists College Scholarship Contest here.

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Nick’s Picks
I started my non-profit called Nick’s Picks, a (501c3) charity started in 2012 – the same month I received my liver transplant at the UCLA Medical Center. Nick’s Picks delivers backpacks filled with games, toys and comfort items to children facing long-term hospitalization or on isolation.

I was born with Biliary Atresia, a pediatric liver disease. I had my first surgery when I was less than a month old, followed by lots of surgeries and hospital visits every year of my life. I am no stranger to spending long days and weeks in the hospital on isolation. Being an expert at entertaining myself, I put together a collection of the ten most fun items that I loved when I was in isolation. I created Nick’s Picks because I am committed to making a difference in the lives of hospitalized kids by the delivery of these fun-filled backpacks. I believe they bring happiness and hope to these kids facing chronic illness or transplant, like me. I often personally deliver these backpacks, and it is so great to see the kids in the hospital smile and realize that someone else understand their struggles.

My Nick’s Picks currently delivers backpacks to children living in isolation at the following places:

  • UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital (where I got my liver transplant!)
  • Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego (where I’ve spent a lot of time)
  • Stanford Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital
  • San Diego Ronald McDonald House
  • Stanford Ronald McDonald House

I have already delivered over 200 backpacks. I really want to continue to provide more backpacks to more places and more kids. In May 2014, I was lucky enough to be recognized for my creation of Nick’s Picks at the UCLA Centennial Celebration. This video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LARwh-JponE kicked off UCLA’s Epidemic of Compassion Campaign to continue to help raise funds for UCLA and Nick’s Picks. My website is (www.nickspicks.org) and it has a press/blog section. I have a cool Facebook page too that you should check out.

The Montage has always been there for me. Before my liver transplant I was only able to be between San Diego (where I live) and LA (where the transplant center was). I couldn’t visit anywhere else that I wanted to. Our favorite hotel within range was the Montage and I loved it. The people at the Montage have been so nice to me. One of the times that I went to the Montage after my transplant, they had a bag of different kinds of stuffed seals (my mascot) waiting for me in my room. Along with that, I got a card that everyone signed that said “welcome back Nick”. Also after my transplant, I was invited back to the Montage for a ceremony to release rescued seal pups back into the ocean. It was amazing. Then, Mr. Feurstman helped arrange a great visit to the Deer Valley Montage where I got to ski for the first time since transplant. While I was there I got to meet his lovely family. The Montage already means so much to me, but it would be so incredible if I won this scholarship and could look forward to an even better future.

Gratefully,
Nick Wallace

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