After Dr. Tamara O’Neal’s brutal killing by her ex-fiancé in November, her former classmates have created a scholarship fund in her name. The Tamara O’Neal MD Scholarship Fund will benefit a first-year medical student in the Urban Health Program at the University of Illinois, The Chicago Sun-Times reports.
O’Neal’s former classmates have raised $68,000 so far and if a sufficient amount of money is raised, the group of friends will create a second scholarship and offer it to fourth-year medical students who have plans of completing their residency in emergency medicine, the same path O’Neal chose. The classmates hope to raise enough money so that the scholarship will be “ongoing” as was disclosed by the O’Neal’s father, Tom O’Neal.
Her father additionally praised the initiative. “Tamara was always a person who lived to help people, and to be able to pass that on in the form of this scholarship fund to help someone else, then Tamara still lives.”
“She used to call me up and tell me to say an extra prayer for her when she had a big exam,” he continued. “Now I’ll say an extra prayer for the person who gets this scholarship.”
O’Neal worked as an emergency room physician at Mercy Hospital in Chicago when she was murdered by gunman Juan Lopez. Among the other victims were Chicago Police Officer Samuel Jimenez, and pharmacy resident Dayna Less. After being wounded by the police, Lopez fatally shot himself.
O’Neal was described as being the “glue that held us together,” by med school friend Chisalu Nchekwube when discussing their group.