BioMatrix Announces 2022 Memorial Scholarship Recipients
The program awards $1,000 each to six students with hemophilia or their family
BioMatrix Specialty Pharmacy has announced the six recipients of this year’s Memorial Scholarship Program, with each receiving $1,000 to support their higher education.
The program, a partnership with the Hemophilia Federation of America (HFA), honors the memory of people who uniquely impacted the bleeding disorders community. The awardees are also members of the community, having been diagnosed with hemophilia and von Willebrand disease (VWD).
“My schooling could prompt me to develop critical therapeutics for those with bleeding disorders like gene therapy or subcutaneous [under-the-skin] injection technology,” said Michael Caggiano, one of the 2022 scholarship recipients and an freshman studying engineering at the University of Miami, in a press release.
Bleeding disorders are characterized by deficiencies in specific clotting factors, causing the blood not to clot properly. They’re caused by inherited genetic mutations or, in some cases, can occur spontaneously.
BioMatrix provides individualized pharmacy services and digital health technology solutions for people with chronic and challenging medical conditions. Each year since 2013, BioMatrix has awarded a scholarship to six students, doing so with administrative backing and independent, third-party evaluation of applicants by the HFA.
This year’s scholarship winners
Caggiano, diagnosed with severe hemophilia, received the BioMatrix Ron Niederman Memorial Scholarship, which is meant for men with hemophilia or VWD and immediate family members.
Through his website HemoTalk.com, Caggiano interviews people with a bleeding disorder, raises awareness, and provides support and encouragement.
The BioMatrix Mike Hylton Memorial Scholarship — also meant for men with hemophilia or VWD and immediate family members — was given to Brian Duval, a senior at the University of Nebraska where is studying finance/political science.
Duval lives with severe hemophilia and is pursuing a career in rare disease advocacy. He serves on the Hemophilia Foundation of Minnesota/Dakotas board of directors and is a policy and government relations intern for HFA’s office in Washington, D.C.
“Advocating for such a personal cause and making the voice of the bleeding disorders community heard by policymakers has been crucial in shaping my career goals,” Duval said.
Justin Eichermuller received the BioMatrix Mark Coats Memorial Scholarship for men and women with hemophilia. He is a graduate student at Florida State University earning a master’s in public administration.
“Individuals should not be defined by a medical condition, but by what they do with it,” said Eichermuller, who served on a youth council at his hemophilia treatment center and mentored young children. He is always looking for ways to raise awareness about hemophilia in his job.
The BioMatrix Millie Gonzalez Memorial Scholarship, for women with hemophilia or VWD, was given to Lidia Grande-Ruiz, a senior film student at Cal Poly Humboldt. After being asked to speak about her experience living with VWD, Grande-Ruiz realized how important it is to share her story and how film can help others.
“I learned that a well-produced film could cause a chain reaction raising awareness and helping others feel motivated, connected, and not alone,” she said.
Nicholas Leach, a hemophilia patient and a freshman studying biochemistry and molecular biology at Belmont University, received the BioMatrix Tim Kennedy Memorial Scholarship for men with hemophilia A or hemophilia B.
“I play soccer because I love it, and this love has brought me through highs and lows. At the end of the day, I will be remembered not for hemophilia but as an athlete who followed his passion and overcame his obstacles,” Leach said.
The BioMatrix Joe Holibaugh Memorial Scholarship, for men and women with hemophilia A or B and inhibitors, was awarded to Josiah Walker, who has severe hemophilia. Inhibitors are neutralizing antibodies some patients develop against clotting factors supplied to treat their condition.
Walker grew up with a risk of painful bleeding episodes, which is not ideal for playing sports. He joined a local robotics team, where he led, taught, and managed other students in designing robots for competition. This inspired him to pursue engineering as a career. He is a sophomore at James Madison University.
Applications to the BioMatrix Memorial Scholarship Program will reopen in March 2023.