Liz Franke credits an ultrasound technician for saving her son's life. She was just 20 weeks pregnant with Julien when the technician discovered he had a kidney disorder known as ureterocele.
Had it not been for the ultrasound, Julien would have been at home when his oxygen levels dropped to dangerously low levels at three days old. But doctors -- knowing the diagnosis ahead of time -- were prepared to act and kept him in the neonatal ICU.
Two years later, Franke, a former account executive, was accepted into Harper College's Diagnostic Medical Sonography program.
"It's very scary to learn the name of your child's disease before you even name your child," Franke, of Gurnee, says. "I knew I wanted to impact others in the same way."
Helping to ease the transition to Franke's new career are the scholarships she's received through the Harper College Educational Foundation, which awarded nearly $300,000 in student scholarships over the past year.
To honor the recipients -- and the donors who help make stories such as Franke's possible -- the Foundation held an inaugural Scholarship Recognition Dinner on April 30, at the Wellness and Sports Center on the college's main campus in Palatine.
More than 300 people filled the reception space, which had been transformed by Kehoe Designs. Owner and President Tom Kehoe, one of the most highly regarded event specialists in the U.S., is one of Harper's Distinguished Alumni. The event included remarks from Harper College President Dr. Ken Ender, board of trustees Chairman Diane Hill and Foundation President Tom Wischhusen.
"We want to recognize the many accomplishments of Harper students and the donors who are helping them on their journey," said Angela Vining, Scholarship and Special Projects coordinator at the Foundation.
Franke, who's thriving as she wraps up her first year in the rigorous Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, said she's looking forward to a career helping others.
"An ultrasound technician gave us the opportunity to visit with top specialists and have a plan of action before our son was even born," she said. "I've been inspired to take the same path."
For information about the Foundation, call (847) 925-6490 or visit harpercollege.edu/foundation.
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