Anna Pressing Forward
It was April of 2016, and Anna Tanner was just two weeks into her mission service in Nauvoo. Serving as a performing missionary, Anna was excited for a summer of incredible experiences and performances. However, Tanner’s summer took an unexpected turn when her mission president called her into his office and informed her that her mother had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. “I was shocked. . . taken aback,” says Tanner. “I didn’t know that my mom had even gone to the doctor.” Although Tanner was terribly worried about her mother, she decided to stay in Nauvoo and finish her mission. Tanner explains, “I felt it was all going to be okay, and that I’d actually be more of a blessing to my family [serving a mission than] being home.”
When Tanner finally arrived home in Spanish Fork, Utah, a few weeks before school started, she was faced with a very different home and family. “My mom had lost all of her hair,” Tanner recalls, and with her intense chemotherapy treatments, Tanner’s mother also had to stop most all of her work as a physician’s assistant. The decreased income combined with the extensive medical bills related to the cancer treatment had left the Tanner family with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills to pay. Aware of her family’s sudden change in finances, Tanner knew she would have to shoulder the burden of paying for school herself.
Thankfully, Tanner received a Replenishment Grant—a scholarship awarded through the donations of alumni. When she is more financially stable, Tanner will replenish the grant fund by donating back the amount of money she initially received. “I feel very grateful to have received this grant,” Tanner says, “There should be more grants like this created for other students who work hard, but may be challenged in paying for their education.”
Through all of the struggles surrounding her mother’s diagnosis, Tanner has learned to work hard, and to see beauty despite difficulty. She says, “Every person is going to have difficult circumstances happen in their lives, but it’s your choice how you’re going to react and how you’re going to move on. . . .You just have to keep pushing forward.”