James Davis, of Crossville, is one of two students nationwide to win a $21,000 scholarship awarded to young adults with cystic fibrosis as they pursue higher education, and he credits friends, family, acquaintances and strangers with making this possible.
“I’m overwhelmed with the amount of support I received,” Davis said. “It’s overwhelming and humbling.”
Davis was among 24 undergraduate students who received a $2,500 AbbVie CF Scholarship. That also moved him into competition for an additional $18,500 scholarship for the 2013 Thriving Scholar. The program offered the award to one undergraduate and one graduate student in celebration of the 21st anniversary of the AbbVie CF Scholarship Program.
Scholarship awards were based on a student’s academic excellence, extracurricular activities, creativity and ability to serve as a positive role model for the cystic fibrosis community, and final recipients were selected based on public votes.
“I’m so incredibly grateful,” he said. “This is truly life-changing for me. If I hadn’t won, I’d have gone on and worked my butt off to finish school, but this will allow me some breathing room. With CF, that’s a big deal.”
Davis is currently a student at Roane State Community College, studying finance and business. He is a Crossville native who is also a published author of children’s books, a dance mentor and coach, entrepreneur coach, investment role model, business mentor and instructor and Cumberland County Playhouse community volunteer. He was also the keynote speaker for the 2013 Crossville homeschool graduation.
He is also living with cystic fibrosis, an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems.
“When I was born, I wasn’t expected to live past 15. As a child, I was told that my life would be a constant battle between life and death,” he wrote in his biography on the scholarship program website. “The day I turned 16, I suddenly realized I was still alive, and now at 30, my life is nothing short of a miracle.
“One of the most important things CF has taught me is to seek after things that are good, worthwhile, and that have lasting value. Because I am always facing death, I have realized how much I love life and how precious it is. Life is simply phenomenal and the battle to live is more than worth it.”
Davis plans to complete his undergraduate studies at Roane State and then transfer to a four-year college to complete his bachelor’s degree. He would like to open his own business and is already laying the groundwork for that with an import business based in Crossville.
“I’ve had several sales already, which is nice, and I hope to grow it from there,” he said.
Being an entrepreneur and owning his own business is important to Davis. His family owned their own business for years, and he believes that will be important as he has children of his own.
“My goal, when I have children, is to be there for them as much as possible, and I don’t feel I can do that in a 9 to 5 job,” he said.
He’s also fascinated with the stock market, which he has studied actively for more than a decade.
“I love the business aspect of the stock market,” he said. “I’ve had an interest in finance and business my whole life.”
To learn more about the AbbVie CF scholarship, visit www.AbbVieCFscholarship.com.