Fairfield students earn National MS Society scholarships

By Fairfield Sun on June 23, 2016

In addition to the physical and emotional toll, multiple sclerosis can have a substantial financial impact on a family. The direct and indirect costs of MS — including lost wages — are estimated at more than $70,000 annually, per household. And, many of those families are searching for a way to manage the added expense of sending a student to college.

This year, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society awarded more than $1.1 million in scholarship funds to 815 recipients nationwide. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $3,000 and recipients are eligible to reapply each year to be considered for a future award. The program is competitive; awards are not guaranteed.

Since 2003, National MS Society scholarships have helped students affected by MS, whether the student, his/her parent, or both, have been diagnosed with the disease, pursue their desired college or technical school education. Scholarships can be applied to any year of undergraduate enrollment at an accredited post-secondary school. Applications are evaluated based on financial need, academic record, leadership and volunteer activities, a statement of educational and career goals, and letters of recommendation. Applicants also provide personal statements describing the impact MS has had on their lives.

Fairfield students who received scholarships include Julia Pangallo, Jane Pollard, Sapir Shoshan, Timothy Vino and Kelly Vino.

These students were recognized by the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, at its annual Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Fund Scholarship Reception, held at the Hartford Golf Club in West Hartford, Thursday, June 9. Forty-two students received a 2016 scholarship from the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter.

Six Fairfield County students received scholarships through the Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Fund, which specifically supports the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter’s family programs, caregivers programs and scholarships. The fund was established in July 2007 by the Petit family to honor the memory of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, who had MS, and her daughters Hayley and Michaela, who were active with the chapter helping raise funds to support scientific research for a cure and local programs for families affected by MS.

“For these and the hundreds of thousands of families facing MS across the country, there are few sources for scholarship assistance,” said Lisa Gerrol, National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter president. “MS shouldn’t stand in the way of an education, and we are hopeful that this program will continue to give families some support.”

Information about scholarships for 2017-18 academic year will be available October 1, 2016. For more information, call 1-800-344-4867 or visit

About Multiple Sclerosis Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.

Symptoms vary from person to person and range from numbness and tingling, to walking difficulties, fatigue, and dizziness, to pain, depression, blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million worldwide.

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society The Society mobilizes people and resources so that everyone affected by multiple sclerosis can live their best lives as we stop MS in its tracks, restore what has been lost and end MS forever. Last year alone, through our comprehensive nationwide network of services, the Society devoted $122.2 million to connect more than one million individuals to the people, information and resources they need. To move closer to a world free of MS, the Society also invested $54 million to support more than 380 new and ongoing research projects around the world. We are united in our collective power to do something about MS now and end this disease forever. Learn more at