HARTFORD, Conn. – Adrian Caraballo, of Hartford, has been named to receive the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter’s 2014 Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Fund Scholarship.
Caraballo, 19, a graduate of Bolton High School, will attend Capital Community College, in Hartford, to pursue an associate’s degree as a library technical assistant.
“I first became interested in working in a library while completing some community service hours at my school’s library,” shared Caraballo. “At first it was just a way to put some time on the clock, but as I continued to work and realized how involved the job really was I became more and more interested in it and realized that it could become a career.”
While volunteering at the school’s library, Caraballo was responsible for many activities, including filing, processing and shelving books, reorganizing the stacks, binding damaged books and weeding out ones that were no longer needed.
“My goal is to become a published fantasy writer,” said Caraballo when asked about his future aspirations. “My favorite author is Rick Riordan, who wrote all of the Percy Jackson novels. I think it would be amazing to be a published author like him one day.”
While reading is an escape for many, Caraballo is also very much involved in the here and now. His father, Reinaldo, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001 and requires assistance at home.
“My dad has severe pain in his hips and can’t stand up for long periods of time,” said Caraballo. “More recently, he also has lost some motion in his hands so I try to help him as much as possible with hand exercises to help slow the progression of his disease. I also am always there to help him with things like getting dressed in the morning, an activity I used to take for granted.”
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Reynaldo, live with multiple sclerosis, a potentially debilitating disease. The cause is unknown and there is currently no cure. In addition to the emotional toll, MS can have a substantial financial impact on a family. The direct and indirect costs of MS, including lost wages — even for those with health insurance — are estimated at more than $70,000 annually per household. This makes funding a college education that much harder.
“Receiving this scholarship means a lot to me, because I know that every bit helps when it comes to paying the bills,” Caraballo said.
Caraballo was recognized by the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, at its annual Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Scholarship Reception, which was held at the Country Club of Farmington, Thursday, June 5. He is one of 18 high school graduates receiving a 2014 scholarship from the Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Petit family scholarships are made possible through the Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Fund, which specifically supports the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter’s family programs. The fund was established in July 2007 by the family to honor the memory of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, who had MS, and her daughters Hayley and Michaela, who were active with the chapter in helping to raise funds to support scientific research for a cure.
Program Continues To Grow Across the Country
The Society established its scholarship program for students who have MS or a parent living with MS eleven years ago, and it immediately became a source of great encouragement for families concerned that MS might put college out of reach. This year, over $1.1 million in awards was presented to over 700 new and renewal recipients nationwide. Applications are evaluated on financial need, academic record, leadership and volunteer activities, a statement of educational and career goals, and letters of recommendation. Applicants are also asked to provide a personal statement describing the impact MS has had on their life. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $3,000 and typically cover one year, although a limited number of awards may exceed this amount.
“For the Caraballo family and the hundreds of thousands diagnosed with MS across the country, there are very few known sources of scholarship assistance specially targeted for these families,” said Lisa Gerrol, Connecticut Chapter president and CEO. “MS shouldn’t stand in the way of an education, and we are hopeful this program will give families some relief.”
Scholarship applications for the 2015 school year will be available online in October. For more information on MS or for additional information on 2014 MS scholarship criteria, please contact the Connecticut Chapter at 860.913.2550 or visit www.ctfightsMS.org.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to 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 moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people 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 people worldwide. It is the number one disabling neurological disease in young to middle-aged adults.
About the National MS Society
MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn’t. We help each person address the challenges of living with MS. Since its founding in 1946, the Society has allocated more than $771 million to MS research projects around the world. We are people who want to do something about MS NOW. Join the Movement®.
Early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options by talking to your healthcare professional and contacting the National MS Society at www.nationalMSsociety.org or 1-800-FIGHT-MS (344-4867).
Join the Movement is a registered trademark of the National MS Society.