Cat Zingano Surprises Her Scholarship Winner and Shares a Message to Everyone Overcoming Loss
MMA fighter, Cat Zingano, awarded Destiny Wallace from Birmingham, Alabama, the $10,000 “Overcoming Loss” Scholarship on Bold.org.
Zingano created the scholarship in 2021 to support students persevering through grief, just as she has. The scholarship received thousands of powerful, heartfelt applications – so much so, that Cat is renewing her $10,000 scholarship for 2022.
In her deeply-moving essay, Destiny revealed the trauma that she and her younger brother faced when they lost their mother tragically. The horrific event brought Destiny to a crossroads; she could either surrender to ceaseless grief and anger or she could be a role model to her brother and dedicate her life to helping others. Today, Destiny is a student at Auburn University at Montgomery, and the scholarship will help her pursue a psychology degree to create a better life for her and her brother. “My purpose from this traumatic situation is to create my legacy to the world and other people like myself that your life doesn’t stop there,” Destiny wrote in her essay.
Zingano created the scholarship for brave students just like Destiny. She wanted to provide support for those who, despite significant loss, continue to persevere. The scholarship was inspired by Cat’s personal experience fighting through loss and grief. When Cat was in college, her mother was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer. When her mother passed away in 2005, Cat was struck by devastating loss during an already stressful time. Cat had just become pregnant with her son. She was juggling a job, her college courses and preparing for parenthood — all while grieving. Pushing through this period, Cat achieved incredible success early into her MMA career. She was thriving professionally, but in 2014, her world came crashing down with another tragedy. Cat’s husband — who guided her career as a coach — took his own life. Although Cat has faced severe hardships, she continues to fight both on and off the mat to show her son that obstacles and adversity won’t conquer their life.
Cat Zingano says: “I’m so grateful to the thousands of people who submitted applications and shared their very personal, and moving, stories. It’s been incredibly inspiring for me to see these survivors putting so much effort into persevering through loss and their difficult life circumstances. I’m extremely humbled and honored to have met Destiny and to be able to help support her on her journey. She is a bright and driven young woman who is pursuing a future in helping people, taking direction from all the tough times she’s been through. Her strength is remarkable and I believe she will do great things. This experience has been so impactful on so many levels, and I feel very fortunate to be able to do it again with Bold.org and to bring more support to the lives of others who may need a helping hand through such challenging and devastating times.”
Destiny Wallace (Birmingham, AL) says: “Winning this scholarship is a dream come true. I am grateful and honored to know that my voice matters. I stand firm in the saying that ‘what challenges you have fought or may be going through, doesn’t define who you are or where you will end up being.’ It has been a beautiful experience meeting Cat Zingano and getting to share our stories with one another — stories that have led us both to help others and spread awareness for others facing similar challenges.”
Cat is part of a robust list of public figures who make a point of supporting education on Bold.org. Previous Bold.org scholarship sponsors include professional tennis player Sloane Stephens, producer and DJ 3LAU, actor Terry Crews, NFL players JuJu Smith-Schuster and Brandon Zylstra, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, Grammy-winning band Imagine Dragons, singer-songwriter Clairo, actress Jameela Jamil and more.