Kristen Julia Drenten was born in Columbus, Ohio on August 31, 1982. In 3rd grade, she moved with her family to Aiken, South Carolina. Kristen was an energetic and outgoing young girl, involved in student council, church youth group, and many sports including cheerleading, gymnastics, tennis, and basketball. In 7th grade, Kristen's left knee began hurting. After a trip to the doctor, Kristen was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, a form of adolescent bone cancer. Despite hearing such devastating news, Kristen's spirits remained high. She continued participating in sports, excelling in school, and spending time with friends and family -- all while recieving chemotherapy treatments and undergoing multiple surgeries. After a year of treatment, she celebrated being in remission with a "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" themed party. Unfortunately, a few months before entering high school, her cancer returned. Kristen passed away on November 19th, 1997, but not without making the last few months of her life count -- she swam with her favorite animals, bottlenosed dolphins, in Key West; she was featured in a cover story for Teen Magazine in which she shared her courageous story; while in Los Angeles for her interview and photoshoot, she visited the set of her favorite show Party of Five and met her favorite actor Scott Wolf; she spent quality time with her friends and family; she celebrated her 15th birthday; she convinced her Mom to ride rollercoasters at Carowinds; she planned her entire memorial to be a "Celebration of Life"; and last but not least, she started this scholarship. She was an amazing young girl and continues to be an inspiration.
"Kristen passed away on November 19th, 1997, but not without making the last few months of her life count."
About the Scholarship
Kristen was a freshman at South Aiken High School when she passed away of cancer in November of 1997. Before she died, it was her desire to begin a scholarship fund to help her classmates at South Aiken pursue their college dreams. Kristen began the fund with $200 of her own money and set the criteria for the scholarship herself. She wanted each recipient to be a scholar student, like herself, who was involved in sports, school activities, and community service. Although Kristen had been faced with a devastating disease, she was able to create something positive out of her experience with cancer. Using this mentality as her inspiration, she decided that each applicant should write an essay about a hardship he or she had overcome. Kristen hoped to raise enough money to distribute one or two scholarships in 2001, the year she would have graduated. Thanks to the generosity of donations, the Kristen Julia Drenten Memorial Scholarship was awarded to seven graduating seniors in 2001 and has been awarded annually at the South Aiken High School Awards Day since then. Kristen's scholarship has far exceeded any impact she ever expected it to have. Each recipient receives a scholarship, a personal plaque, and recognition on a plaque at South Aiken High School.
"Kristen's scholarship has far exceeded any impact she ever expected it to have."