Florida Tax Credit Scholarship student stays the course to med school despite cancer diagnosis

Luke Desclefs graduated from Jacksonville’s Bishop Snyder High School, where the motto is “Preparing the way,” in 2020. The school participates in the state’s scholarship programs to provide options for families seeking the best educational environment for their children.

It was the beginning of the 2019-20 school year and Luke Desclefs was smoothly sailing toward graduating Jacksonville’s Bishop Snyder High School that spring. His course load wasn’t heavy. His grades were in order. His plans for college were in place.

Luke Desclefs

Then in October, he noticed a lump on his neck.

Cancer.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that attacks the body’s immune system. His reaction? “It stinks.”

Luke was more upset with the intrusion in the plans for his final year of high school than the disease.

“Everyone faces something,” he said.

Luke understood that all too well.

Five years earlier, his mother, Kathy, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. And in August, two months before Luke’s diagnosis, his dad Benoit was found to have an inoperable malignant brain tumor.

“We never asked, ‘Why us?’” Luke said. “Complaining about it isn’t going to help.”

Life continued as best as it could for the Desclefs. Kathy ran The Magnificat Café, the French-American restaurant they owned in downtown Jacksonville, while Benoit underwent treatment. Luke endured three months of chemotherapy. His teachers at Snyder, which he attended on a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, adjusted his class schedule to accommodate his treatments.

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