Ayesha Harrison-Jex

Ayesha Harrison-Jex Endowed Scholar Grant 

Ayesha Harrison-Jex came into the world fighting. She was born prematurely and stayed in the hospital for three and a half months. The same way she came into the world she left – fighting for her life. She was born on November 8th, 1978 and she passed away in October 2019, just before her 41st birthday.  Ayesha was a happy child, always smiling, sweet, caring, and sensitive. When cancer (adenoid cystic carcinoma) first attacked her body, she was attending community college; however, after extensive treatment she went on to complete her studies, graduating with a BA in Business Administration at Florida A & M. She followed up her BA with an MBA from the University of Phoenix and worked for many years in the hospitality industry.  She became cancer free and for 17 years cancer stayed away.  Cancer found its way back into her body in her late 30s. She began to fight a battle again that she ultimately lost and passed away three years after the final diagnosis.

Ayesha had a true fighting spirit and believed that she could better herself by working hard to achieve the goals she set for herself.  Ayesha believed that when you are determined to do something – hard work pays off and all dreams do come true. In the words of her mother, Dr. Lucille O’Neal, “We want this grant to honor the hard-working Rankin Scholars, true to the spirit of Ayesha.” Dr. O’Neal shared that she was so happy and blessed to be Ayesha’s mother. She always calls Ayesha her special baby – “she fought to live.” On behalf of Ayesha, the O’Neal Family shares this grant to help Rankin Scholars achieve their dreams.