In the spirit of giving, the Becky Melton Scholarship has been established at Indiana University East by donors in honor of Melton’s selfless act to donate a kidney to Jerry Wilde, professor of education.
Gifts to the scholarship have generated enough funds to endow the scholarship. To date, IU East has received $13,700 through direct donations and a celebration hosted by Jerry and his wife, Polly Wilde.
The endowed scholarship will be awarded annually to an IU East student who exemplifies the spirit of giving.
“It’s exciting to be able to recognize Becky’s sacrifice with this scholarship. Our story has been an inspiration to so many people. This is a great way to have the story continue,” Wilde said.
Melton said that she has been overwhelmed by the blessings that have come from the kidney donation, and the scholarship is a huge part of that. She added the idea of a gift given in her name is an honor, but the people who have donated make the gift even more so.
“It’s been amazing to see the chain of blessings from all this just grow and grow, and we will be able to continue to see that now when the scholarship is awarded. There have been a lot of really selfless, generous people involved in our story, and this is a great way to honor those people by commemorating our transplant with a scholarship while also rewarding more people who show that same spirit of generosity,” Melton said.
The story of Becky Melton and Jerry Wilde has caught statewide and national attention. An alumna of IU East, Melton discovered through a Facebook fan page created and administered by Leah Hostalet, also an IU East alumna, that Wilde was in need of a kidney. Wilde’s health was declining quickly and he had been going through kidney dialysis for two years. Hostalet created the Facebook page in an effort to help Wilde find a match. She continues to help others in need through a Facebook page, Find a Kidney Central, where she is hoping to match over 100 participants with a kidney by connecting them with potential donors, educate those in need and to help them create their own fan pages.
Melton decided to go through the screening process to find out if she could be a match for Wilde. She passed and was approved for the kidney transplant. After two previous matches failed, Wilde and Melton were a match for a successful transplant surgery at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis in February.
Both Melton and Wilde have recovered from the surgery and are now back at work. They continue to spread the word and support organ donation along with Hostalet.
The scholarship is another way for Wilde, Melton and Hostalet to see their efforts continue and to honor individual students for their spirit of giving.
Applicants must write an essay that details how they exemplify the spirit of giving, how the applicant’s service has positively impacted the community, and address what the applicant will do for the year of the scholarship. Two letters of support from individuals with direct involvement with the applicant’s service must be provided with the application.
“I can’t wait to hear the stories of the students who are nominated for the scholarship. It will be a real encouragement to hear about some of the giving, loving, unsung heroes within our own community, and it will be so satisfying to see some of them rewarded for their generosity,” Melton said.
If you would like to contribute, send donations to: Indiana University East, Office of External Affairs, 2325 Chester Boulevard, Richmond, IN, 47374. Please write checks to the Indiana University Foundation with “Becky Melton Scholarship” in the check memo section.