Linda Ruggiero was in nursing school when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. As a result, she almost gave up on her dream.
Linda Ruggiero and her mom. Photo courtesy of Linda Ruggiero.
Ruggiero, who was changing careers, needed her mom to help her pay for nursing school. But the diagnosis changed everything. Not only did Ruggiero have the weight of her mother being sick on her shoulders, now the aspiring nurse couldn't count on any financial support. And even though her mother got better, Ruggiero's last year of nursing school was incredibly difficult.
"It was a dark year," Ruggiero recalls. She didn't qualify for financial aid so she started taking on work outside of school. At one point, she was working five jobs at one time just to make ends meet.
"I almost had to leave," she says. "I was tired, and I had meltdowns pretty often. When my mom got sick, I felt like I really couldn't take it anymore, you know?"
But then a scholarship came along that changed her life.
Linda Ruggiero giving the convocation speech at her nursing school graduation. Photo courtesy of Lina Ruggiero.
In her last year, Ruggiero was awarded $5,000 by the The Foundation of the National Student Nurses Association (FNSNA), which is supported in part by Johnson & Johnson — a company that has a century-long commitment to helping nurses. Johnson & Johnson recognizes that front line health workers are vital to changing health and wellbeing, which includes supporting the FNSNA and the scholarships they award.
The money made it possible for Ruggiero to finish the program and do what she loves. While this was certainly great for her, Ruggiero's newly acquired certification would also make a profound difference to people in need of medical assistance and care.
With a nurse shortage looming over the United States, Ruggiero's entry into the workforce is good for all of us. She's now one of the essential people in the medical community fighting to ensure that everyone gets proper care.
And none of this would've been possible without people like you.
That's right. You have the power to change a life. All it takes is the snap of your camera.
When you take a photo and share it through Johnson & Johnson's Donate a Photo app, Johnson & Johnson will donate one dollar per picture to causes that make the world a better, healthier place. What's more, if you share those photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you may inspire others to get snapping and donating, too.
With nearly four million photos shared, Donate a Photo has proven to be an easy (and fun) way to both spread awareness and make meaningful change in the world.
Johnson & Johnson has always been focused on changing human health for the better. And they know that progress is faster and more efficient when we all work together.
Donate a Photo is just one of the ways that J&J is helping to make the world healthier. They also created a Global Public Health organization dedicated to causes like ending Pediatric Tuberculosis and working to eliminate HIV/AIDS as a public health threat within the next decade, just to name a few.
Now it's your turn to make a difference: It starts with capturing the people you love and ends with improving the lives of people you've never met.
Photo courtesy of Linda Ruggiero.
Because Linda Ruggiero got to stay in school, she's been able to help so many others.
Aside from earning her degree and becoming a Registered Nurse, Ruggiero's also started a program that provides hats and blankets for premature babies at a local hospital. She's been awarded a grant to perform public health research in order to teach muslim women in her community about vitamin D deficiency. And she's won awards for the outreach work she's done.
"I didn't just get money to go to school to help myself," she says. "Because I stayed, it benefited others, too."
When you "Donate a Photo" and then post your donated snaps to social media, you'll be showing people the causes you care about, and creating an altruistic ripple effect that will have an effect long after your friends and relatives have scrolled through your timeline.
It only takes a second, but when we all work together, there's no telling just how much better we can make the future.