CORNWALL, Conn. – When 11-year-old Donovan McCray first learned his mother, Jennifer Kenniston, had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a potentially debilitating disease, he wasn’t quite sure what he could do to make things better. McCray started helping around the house more, and where he could, he began helping his mother with her weekly injections, gathering bandages and anything else she might need – but mostly just staying at her side for moral support.
However, McCray, who attends Cornwall Consolidated School in West Cornwall, stepped things up when he stood in front students in grades 3 through 5, sharing why he felt they should walk in support of his mother and her battle against MS.
“Every year our school hosts a walk event to benefit a worthy charity,” explained McCray. “I was a little nervous to get up in front of so many students, but overall it felt good to just speak up.”
Cornwall Consolidated School fifth grader Donovan McCray, 11, poses at his school with principal Michael Croft and mother Jennifer Kenniston. After listening to an address made by McCray, students from Cornwall Consolidated School voted to walk this year in support McCray’s mother, who battles multiple sclerosis. The school will step out Friday, Oct. 14, at 1 p.m. The community is invited to pledge and attend. Funds raised through the walk will benefit the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, and those it serves.
Students voted overwhelmingly to walk this year in support of Kenniston and others in their community struggling with the unpredictable effects of multiple sclerosis.
“I am incredibly proud of Donovan,” said Kenniston, who lives with ongoing numbness and tingling in her hands and feet. “My son is a very thoughtful person. The money raised through the walk will benefit the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, helping to keep research moving forward toward a cure.”
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Kenniston, live with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system. Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness and tingling in the extremities, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness in the limbs, and in extreme cases, complete paralysis. There currently is no cure for multiple sclerosis.
“Donovan did a great job illustrating the democratic process,” said Michael Croft, principal at Cornwall Consolidated School. “He demonstrated the role an individual can play when trying to influence others in a selection process.”
Grades K through eight will step out together Friday, Oct. 14, at 1 p.m. Students, who, based on grade will walk between one and five miles, will have sponsor sheets on which friends and family can pledge funds.
“I am thankful to everyone at my school,” said McCray. “We want our families and friends to come out to support us. We really hope to make a difference in the fight against multiple sclerosis.”
Cornwall Consolidated School is located at 5 Cream Road in West Cornwall. The public is invited to attend the Oct. 14 walk event to benefit MS. For more information on the walk, contact the school at 860.672-6617. For more information on multiple sclerosis, its effects and the many ways to get involved to help, visit www.ctfightsMS.org.