Benetech Hosts Second Annual Ashley Tapparo Memorial Bookshare Subscription Award

By Shareef Phillips, posted on

Free Bookshare subscriptions to be awarded to young adults in the US with a qualifying disability, who are not in school, whose education journey has been put on pause/interrupted due to their long-term medical illness/disability.

A social graphic post that features Ashley Tapparo as a headshot, center image. A background of the Paris skyline with Eiffel tower. The design resembles a post-card from paris. Ashley's image is surrounding by a pink and white shadow.

In 2023, Benetech announced an open call for submissions for the Ashley Tapparo Memorial Bookshare Subscription Award, which honors the memory of a bright young woman, talented artist, and beloved daughter, sister, and friend who aspired to attend college and study marine biology. In spite of Ashley’s best efforts, she was unable to fulfill all of her dreams due to her passing at the age of 18 after a long battle with cancer. Benetech was pleased to announce, together with Ashley’s family, that two awardees received free memberships to Bookshare in recognition of her giving spirit and love of learning.

“Participating in Last year’s Memorial Subscription, filled my heart with such joy. When others can find support, like Ashley did through Bookshare, the world is their oyster. Knowing the recipients from last year are receiving this kind of support—it’s priceless. Ash would be proud, and I sure am as well.”

Sara Tapparo, Ashley’s Mother

We are seeking to make an even greater impact this year for Ashley’s Legacy. The running theme for this year’s open submissions is Paris. During Ashley’s hospital stays, she was often found creating different themed rooms for herself and others to make their stay as comfortable as possible. One of Ashley’s first ideas was a Paris theme.

Please see guidelines and information below for this year’s open call.

Timeline and Application for Submission Process  

  • June 28th, 2024 – Ashley Tapparo Memorial Award is officially announced: Online application form available here.
  • September 30th, 2024 – Deadline to submit application at 12AM midnight PST.
  • October 1st – 31st, 2024 – Award committee reviews applications and selects winners.  
  • November 7th, 2024 – Winners are announced.
  • November 13th, 2023 – Subscriptions begin on Ashley’s birthday. 

Benetech is honored to offer this award in memory of Ashley, with the support of her mother Sara, and the rest of her family, to celebrate and ensure lifelong learning for other aspiring students.  

A social graphic post that features Ashley Tapparo as a headshot in hospital setting, center image. A background of the Paris skyline with Eiffel tower. The design resembles a post-card from paris. Ashley's image is surrounding by a pink and white shadow.

 “My hope is that this subscription can reach some kids with similar stories to Ash’s”

– Brittany Tapparo, Ashley’s Sister

Who Should Apply for the Award  

Are you a young adult with plans to continue your education, but it was interrupted due to a long-term health crisis, chronic illness, or disability?

If either of those or similar scenarios apply to you where you don’t already have access to a free membership, we encourage you to apply for the award.  

Young adults who are interested in applying for this award should meet this eligibility criteria:  

  • – Young adults, who are not in school, whose education journey has been put on pause/interrupted due to long-term medical illness/disability.   
  • – Candidates must complete and submit an online form by September 30th, 2024. 
  • – Candidates should be prepared to share their personal story, and how they would use the Bookshare subscription to achieve your goals. They can submit a video, written essay, or call us and leave a story in a voicemail.

More information provided within the application form.

Words of Encouragement from Sara Tapparo for this year’s Applicants:

“Dear 2024 applicants, I encourage you to be creative in your submissions. Ashley loved to be creative and was an artist. Throughout her 18 1/2 years she faced many obstacles, but she never let them stand in her way. Instead, she put on her creative hat and carried on. As someone who thrived when she was able to help others, I am confident she would wish for you to experience the freedom that Bookshare provides. Even though life may have had some rainy days, there is always a rainbow at the end of the tunnel. Hope you have the best of luck creating your masterpiece.”

Sara Tapparo, Ashley’s Mother

Bookshare is only available for individuals who have a qualifying reading or perceptual disability, a visual impairment, or a physical disability that affects their ability to read printed works. Bookshare brings people from all backgrounds together through technology that makes reading easier. Learn more at www.bookshare.org.