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Thompson Awarded Inaugural Scholarship

From left: Victoria Ciara Hegeman and Lauren Thompson.

The Victoria Ciara Foundation awarded Lauren Thompson, senior at Cumberland County Technical Education Center, with the first annual Dr. Thomas L. Spray Scholarship. This honor is named after the pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon who saved the lives of many infants and children at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Seniors from Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties who have a congenital heart disease diagnosis were eligible to apply. Thompson, a dedicated student and strong believer in doing what we can for our community, was selected for her academic efforts, commitment to sharing her talents, and her creative extracurricular activities. She plans to attend Rowan University to become a physical education teacher.

The scholarship was presented by Tammy Wetzel, board member of the Victoria Ciara Foundation. The Foundation was established in 2022 by Victoria Ciara Hegeman and her family. Victoria was born with congenital heart disease in 1997 and has had four open heart surgeries, the most recent in 2021. The Foundation provides financial and wellness assistance, scholarships, socialization opportunities, and educational events for individuals and families affected by congenital heart disease.

To learn more about the Victoria Ciara Foundation, visit or e-mail