NHF Awards 1st Jason Fulton Scholarship to Student With Hem A

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by Mary Chapman |

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Garrett Hayes, who is studying medicine in Texas and has a severe form of hemophilia A, is the first recipient of the National Hemophilia Foundation’s (NHF) Jason Fulton Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship honors the memory of Jason Fulton, a hemophilia patient who died in 1995 at age 24 from complications of the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS, that he acquired from blood products taken to treat his hemophilia. Throughout his life, Fulton was a strong hemophilia advocate and was widely recognized for living life fully.

Announcement of the scholarship was timed to match the World AIDS Day, held annually on Dec. 1 to heighten awareness of the disease and community needs.

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“NHF is thrilled to support such deserving and resilient young leaders like Garrett in furthering their education,” Leonard A. Valentino, MD, NHF’s president and CEO, said in a press release. “Garret embodies the same bright future and accomplishments of Jason and will proudly represent his continuing legacy.”

The scholarship is awarded to past and current members of the NHF National Youth Leadership Institute (NYLI) who demonstrate Fulton’s determination, passion, and work ethic in supporting the blood and bleeding disorders community.

“Jason was a humble but determined young leader,” Hayes said. “I’m honored to be the scholarship’s first recipient, and carry on Jason’s legacy in creating lasting change for the community.”

During what the organization describes as the “rigorous” two-year NYLI program, young adults with a bleeding disorder learn how to become leaders for this community, both locally and nationally, through training, support, and hands-on experience. Participants learn how to tell their stories to audiences, how to speak with lawmakers about community needs, and what it’s like to run a nonprofit organization.

The program, which is meant for individuals between ages 18 and 24, also promotes personal growth.

“I have been truly blessed to honor Jason’s life,” said Karen Fulton Holine, Fulton’s mother. “His memory lives on, and it gives me the strength to tell Jason’s story. Jason’s perseverance inspired my leadership graduate degree and career, so I could not be more grateful for the chance to create a legacy in his name to benefit future generations of leadership.”

The scholarship honors those with the potential to be blood disorder leaders, advocates, and professionals.

“Through this fund, Jason’s vibrancy as an inspirational leader lives on, and each NYLI participant will carry a bit of Jason with them forever,” the NHF stated in its announcement.

Hemophilia A affects about 1 in about 5,000 male births in the U.S. The disease, which accounts for 80% of all hemophilia cases, is caused by missing or defective factor VIII, a protein that plays a key role in blood clotting. More than half of all patients ultimately develop a severe form of the disease.