HARWINTON, Conn. —Skyla-Mae C. Serkey, Harwinton, has been named to receive the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter’s 2013 Corn-Carter MS Family Scholarship.
Serkey, 18, a graduate of Oliver Wolcott Technical High School, will attend Northwestern Connecticut Community College in Winsted to pursue an associate degree in nursing.
Skyla-Mae Serkey, is a life-long Girl Scout, a volunteer and a mentor. Serkey volunteers at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, working in the outpatient lab as well as in the emergency room. Serkey also serves as a certified nursing assistant at Valerie Manor in Torrington.
In her school community, Serkey volunteers at blood drives, including the Bob’s Heroes blood drive, sponsored by Bob’s Discount Furniture. She also mentors incoming freshman to help acclimate new students to the high school environment.
While her work as a certified nursing assistant and a hospital volunteer has influenced Serkey’s future plans, multiple sclerosis has also led her down the path of helping others as a nurse.
In 1998, Serkey’s mother, Brandy, was diagnosed with the debilitating disease. Serkey watched her mother struggle with the symptoms of MS for the more than 10 years before she herself was hospitalized for five days due to optic neuritis.
Optic neuritis, an inflammation of the optic nerve that can cause partial or complete blindness, is often one of the first symptoms of multiple sclerosis. While it is not yet known if Skyla-Mae Serkey has MS, doctors have diagnosed her with auto immune deficiency.
The Serkeys have helped raise awareness and have been an active part of the fight against MS. They have participated in the annual Walk MS since Skyla-Mae was a little girl. In 2013, Team Serkey raised $3,621.
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Brandy Serkey, have multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system. Multiple sclerosis generally affects women more than men and is most often diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. Symptoms can include numbness and tingling in the limbs, difficulties with speech and vision and, in some severe cases, complete paralysis. There is no cure for multiple sclerosis.
Serkey 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 6. She received the Corn-Carter MS Family Scholarship.
The Corn-Carter MS Family Scholarship is made possible through the generosity of Jennifer Corn-Carter and her family. Jennifer Corn-Carter, of Darien, has lived with MS for more than 30 years. In 2010 the chapter presented her with the Georgina B. Davids Award in recognition of her 25 years of volunteerism and support.
“I tend to put myself down a lot, so knowing that people care about what I am going through and my mom’s MS means a lot,” shared Serkey. “When asked about what receiving this scholarship means to her. “I am also able to further my education and help people too.”
Scholarship applications for the 2014 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.