The Sydney McMakin Memorial Scholarship
Diagnosed at age 12 with SVT, most of Sydney's friends never knew she had the condition because of her laugh, beautiful smile, and boundless energy. The website established in her honor bears the name SydneysSmile.org.
It was supposed to be a routine outpatient procedure and recovery. Sydney McMakin had a heart condition known as Supraventricular Tachycardia, or SVT, a condition that caused her heart to beat at a very rapid pace. For four years she dealt with the condition by taking blood pressure medicine. At age 16 she bravely decided to undergo surgery to correct the problem, knowing that with surgery came the risk, albeit minute, of developing a blood clot.
Less than 24 hours later, the worst happened. On December 30, 2011, the Byrnes High School junior suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism due to complications after the surgery.
Sydney became that “one in a million” affected by the risk, says Kim McMakin, Sydney’s mother, “and our world will never be the same.”
Though Sydney’s untimely death is hard to bear, her parents, family, and friends want her extraordinary spirit to live on. Since she had just made the decision to attend college at USC Upstate prior to the surgery, her family felt it would be fitting to establish a scholarship for a Byrnes graduate, so that if not Sydney, then someone else from her beloved high school could attend USC Upstate.
The recipient, who must be a Brynes senior admitted to USC Upstate with a 3.0 overall GPA, will receive $1,000 per year. The first recipient will be chosen from Byrnes’ 2013 graduating class, Sydney’s graduating class.
The scholarship has been established within the USC Upstate Foundation, and the family is asking for help from the USC Upstate community to grow the endowment so that Sydney’s college dream will be possible for others.
“Sydney was an exceptional young lady who loved life, loved learning and loved helping others learn,” said McMakin. “We couldn’t ask for a better daughter and sister and we miss her every day. We are excited about the scholarship because it means that Sydney will continue to help others learn for many years to come.”