Derby Middle School Student Honored With Petit MS Youth Award

Mar 29, 2011

Sean O'Leary, Communications Specialist


Derby Middle School Student Honored With Petit MS Youth Award

DERBY, Conn. – Derby Middle School student Anya Corso received the 2010 Hayley & Michaela Petit MS Youth Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter at its 2010 annual meeting and awards ceremony, held Sunday, March 13, at the Rocky Hill Marriott in Rocky Hill.

A sixth-grader at Derby Middle School, Corso’s mother has lived with multiple sclerosis for 13 years. Before the 2010 Travelers Walk MS, Corso decided to start fundraising in honor of her mother and she went door-to-door, asking family, friends and neighbors to contribute to the chapter.

By the end of the event, Corso had raised $7,300 – the most of any student in Connecticut for the 2010 event.

The Hayley & Michaela Petit MS Youth Award was established in 2007 by the Petit family and the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter to honor the memory of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, who had MS, and her daughters Hayley and Michaela. The award is presented each year to a young person in the community who compels others to engage and raises awareness and funds to fight MS.

Cheshire resident Dr. William Petit Jr. was on hand during the annual meeting to present Corso with her award.

“Anya exemplifies everything we want to recognize with this award,” said Petit. “Jennifer wanted her daughters to become as educated as possible while remembering to help others and lead by example. For all of her hard work, determination and fervor, I am proud to honor Anya with this year’s Hayley & Michaela Petit MS Youth Award.”

The Petit and Hawke families have also established the Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Fund, which provides funding for college scholarships and family programs and services offered by the Connecticut Chapter.

Multiple sclerosis is a potentially debilitating disease affecting the central nervous system. The cause is unknown and there currently is no cure. Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness, loss of mobility and, in some more severe cases, total paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted.

Funds raised through chapter events, such as Walk MS, ensure ongoing scientific research to find a cure. Funds also provide for the continuation of vital programs and services offered by the chapter to more than 6,000 Connecticut residents diagnosed with MS.

The 2011 Travelers Walk MS, presented by North American Power, takes place at ten sites statewide, including West Haven, on Sunday, April 10, and in Westport on Sunday, April 3. Last year’s Travelers Walk MS brought together more than 9,000 participants statewide and raised $1.32 million. This year’s fundraising goal is $1.4 million. For more information or to register, please visit

For more information on multiple sclerosis, its effects and the many ways to help make a difference, please e-mail [email protected].