Students Receive First CT Challenge-Christopher Cook Scholarships

News Story: February 19, 2016

From left are Jean Cariello ’18, Jaime Fregeau ’18, CT Challenge President and Founder Jeff Keith, Hayleigh Rapp ’18 and Allison Clark ’17.

Four Sacred Heart University students have received the inaugural CT Challenge-Christopher Cook Scholarship, commemorating the son of C. Donald Cook, executive director of athletics emeritus.

Christopher Cook battled cancer until his passing in April 2014 at age 48. A loving husband, father, son and brother, Christopher’s memory has lived on through the CT Challenge Team SHU, which has raised more than $50,000 for the nonprofit organization and the scholarship fund since its first ride in July 2014. 

“The past couple of years have been an unforgettable journey. I doubt there’s a human experience that can compare to surviving one’s child. Yet, through it all, it’s been gratifying and inspiring to reach out to others and keep Chris’ memory alive,” says Donald Cook, who set up the scholarship in memory of his son.

Scholarship recipients Hayleigh Rapp ’18, Jaime Fregeau ’18, Jean Cariello ’18 and Allison Clark ’17, are no strangers to the disease that claimed Christopher Cook, as they’ve each battled cancer themselves.

Three of the four women are pursuing nursing degrees at SHU, citing a desire to give back the care they received. Donald Cook called the sentiment, “a wonderful credit to the University, their upbringing and maturity.”

Team SHU will ride again in CT Challenge’s main fundraising event, its annual Bike Ride, on July 30 with the continued support of the Sacred Heart Athletics staff, including Bobby Valentine, current executive director of Athletics, who is serving as honorary chair of the event. This year, the team aims to raise $20,000.