#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Christina Brown (name has been changed), San Rafael, CA

Christina Brown has spent her life caring for others. Her dad’s absence and her mom’s special needs required Brown to serve as mom to her five younger siblings. Today, the single 30-year-old is rearing three children and she continues to care for her 25-year-old autistic brother.

While giving of herself, Brown has kept the goal of being the first in her family to receive a college degree alive and well. In 2000, she graduated with honors and two associate’s degrees. She then transferred to San Francisco State University to continue to work toward her dream of becoming an attorney. Her studies—and life—were interrupted by a diagnosis of cancer—stage II Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Successfully treated, Brown looks forward to graduating in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.

“I have had a very hard life and many obstacles to overcome,” said Brown. “I am determined to break my family’s cycle of poverty. I don’t want my children to have to endure the struggles that I had growing up.”

Brown’s advice to other women struggling with life’s challenges: “Always, always think positive, help others and do your best.”

Brown will use her scholarship to pay for school supplies and gas.

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