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Serving the memory of Catie Carter – one Nursing scholarship at a time

Catie Carter would be proud. Proud to see so many of the nurses who cared for her as she battled childhood cancer now receive the tuition funding they need to complete or advance their Nursing educations in the Jacksonville University College of Health Sciences.

The latest recipient of the full-tuition Catherine “Catie” Carter Scholarship was welcomed into the family at an August 4 luncheon and tour of the University’s new 30,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art College of Health Sciences building, which opened this fall (see more on page 8). Katrina Evans is pursuing her Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) in the Family Nurse Practioner program.

She was joined by two previous recipients – Jodie Belanger, who is also working on an MSN in the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Jacksonville University, and Becki Morgan, who battled childhood cancer herself and recently graduated from JU’s online MSN program.

Along with Evans, they all cared for Catie as she underwent the complex and often grueling treatment at Nemours Children’s Clinic and Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital for neuroblastoma, from 2001 until her  death at age 15 on June 15, 2010.

“It is such an absolute honor to receive this scholarship, because I cared for Catie for eight years and was honored to be with her, as her nurse, on the day that she went to heaven,” said Evans. “Catie told us that day more times than I could count, ‘I love you and I am going to heaven.’ She was an old soul in a young body, always pushing me to go back to school, advance my nursing career and be the best I could  be. I’m grateful to be doing that at JU because the faculty here are dedicated and only want us to be the best nurses we can be.”

The origin of the scholarship is tied to the dedication and work of Catie’s parents, Jimmy and Kerri Carter. Jimmy, through his Florida Carter Corp., has donated numerous hours in site preparation work at JU for Dolphin Green, the intramural fields in the valley, the Swisher Golf Facility and more. His in-kind work resulted in the ongoing scholarships after Catie’s death.

“I was at work here that day at JU on a synthetic turf field when my girl called me and said, ‘Daddy I’ve got to go now … I have to see God now,’” he said through tears. “I told her to hang on until I got there. She died minutes after that.”

The Carters got the idea to give back to nursing and the members of the profession who had so helped their daughter during so many difficult years.

“The nurses who are receiving this funding are what I call ‘Super Nurses,’” Jimmy Carter said. “No one is on an oncology floor for a paycheck. They are on a mission. And these nurses from JU are super-achievers who are getting the finest education possible because of this University.”