When 15-year-old Laney Myers got the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in May, she wasn’t thinking it would change her life and help shape her future. In fact, she wasn’t even aware that the state of Oregon was holding a scholarship lottery for young people who received the vaccine.
Her mother, McKenzie Myers, a nurse practitioner with the Wound and Ostomy Clinic at Asante Three Rivers, casually mentioned the scholarship as the two waited out the 15-minute post-vaccination observation period.
“We didn’t think we’d win it, but it was cool,” McKenzie said.
On July 6 McKenzie’s phone blew up with a phone call, voice message and a text message from the state of Oregon. Laney was among just five winners of a $100,000 “Take Your Shot” Oregon College Savings Plan scholarship.
“I thought they were pulling a prank on me,” said Laney. “There’s no way I could have won.”
In fact, hers was the first name drawn out of 122,000 12- to 17-year-olds eligible for the prize.
Worried that it might be a scam, McKenzie called the state to confirm that her daughter had indeed won. She also called her husband, Emery Myers, a nurse at the wound clinic. The hospital had just cleared a harrowing code silver when Emery got the good news.
“It was quite a day,” he said.
College is still three years off for Laney, who is entering her sophomore year at North Valley High School in Grants Pass. But the scholarship has given her extra motivation to prepare for college. She wants to apply to Oregon State University to study veterinary medicine. (This “medical family” includes 17-year-old Landon, a wrestler who hopes to study pathology or physical therapy at Oregon Health & Science University.)
In the meantime, Laney is adjusting to newfound celebrity. She has been interviewed by local and Portland-area news outlets and received a congratulatory phone call from Gov. Kate Brown.
The questions carry a common theme: Why did Laney choose to get vaccinated?
“I got the vaccine because both my parents are health care workers and they’re exposed to COVID a lot,” she says. “I wanted to make sure they were safe, I was safe and my friends were safe.”
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Congratulations young lady!!!!!!!!
Congratulations to the whole Myers family.