There was only one place Sydney Eiland wanted to be – and only one way she was going to get there: If she really wanted to go to the College of Charleston, she was going to have to find some financial support.

Sydney Eiland (Photos by Heather Moran)

Fortunately, she found – and was awarded – the Franklin Barker West Memorial Scholarship, clearing her path all the way to the Honors College from her native Mobile, Alabama.

“It is because of this scholarship that I get to go to my No. 1 school,” says Eiland. “Without the generosity of the West family, that wouldn’t have been possible.”

The Franklin Barker West Memorial Scholarship was established in honor of Barker West, who was a sophomore at the College when he was killed in a car accident in September 2013. Awarded to incoming freshmen who demonstrate leadership skills and an interest in international studies, the needs-based scholarship is renewable for up to three additional years. To donate to the Franklin Barker West Memorial Scholarship visit the College of Charleston Giving website.

RELATED: Learn more about Barker West and the first recipient of the scholarship that bears his name.

“We cannot think of a more meaningful way to honor our sweet Barker and to keep his memory alive than to have a scholarship in his name that will assist future students at the College in achieving their educational goals,” says his mother Celeste West. “Coming to the College of Charleston certainly made an impact on Barker.”

And his legacy is certainly having an impact on students like Eiland, who plans to further that impact moving forward.

“I’m just really honored to be part of Franklin Barker West’s continuing legacy and to help make the world a better place in his honor,” says Eiland, who is a freshman double-majoring in international studies and public health. She hopes to become a physician’s assistant and work as a relief worker in developing countries where general health care is desperately needed. “The Franklin Barker West Memorial Scholarship will assist me in my journey to help change the world.”

Diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and fibromyalgia, Eiland is always in some level of pain – something she has learned to cope with by staying busy and focusing on other things.

“I refuse to give up; I refuse to let this disease define me and dictate how I live my life,” she says. “Since my diagnosis, my eyes have been opened to how much pain and suffering there is in the world. I have developed my passion for helping others and pinpointed exactly how I want to aid the people of the world.”

And, for Eiland, it all starts at the College of Charleston.