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Alexandra Mitchell was a natural fit for a career in healthcare – ambitious, confident, a genuine caregiver. And, as a true Halloween baby, born on Oct. 31, she loved good-humoured mischief.
"We called her a trickster and a treater," says her father, Kent Mitchell.
Alexandra graduated from the Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Technology Program at the Michener Institute of Education at UHN in 1996. She was passionate about her program and believed her career path would make a difference in cancer research and patient care.
Michener was an important life step for Alexandra, and not just for her education: it was during her time there that she met Gilberto Prudencio, whom she married shortly after graduation.
In the spring of 1998, Alexandra was diagnosed with leukemia. She passed away that September, just two years after she graduated from Michener. She was in the prime of her life.
"When Alex died, we needed something tangible to remember her, and we wanted to do something that would be meaningful to her," says her father. "Encouraging students who were doing the same work she did to support cancer patients and fight the disease was important to us."
The 20th anniversary of the Alexandra Mitchell Prudencio Memorial Scholarship was marked last November. It awards $500 to a Michener nuclear medicine student who shows remarkable patient care in a clinical setting, and takes an active role in Michener activities both inside and outside the classroom.
"Over 100 people donated to the scholarship fund, and we've certainly been rewarded over the years," Kent Mitchell recalls. "The recipients have such a generous spirit, and they reflect the award itself.
"These young people are going to work wonders."
Kyle Yin received the scholarship in 2018. A third-year nuclear medicine student doing his clinical placement at Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton, he feels grateful to have received the scholarship.
"I read about the history of the award, and it's pretty special to receive this money," Kyle says.
"It helped me a lot."
Kent is always moved when he attends Michener's Student Awards Ceremony and meets the scholarship winner.
"It's so rewarding to see these bright, happy faces receiving their award," he says. "It's a joyous event.
"Some of the winners bring up their parents to have their photo taken with me, and that is really something special."