Local Student Speaks Up; Classmates Listen - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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The Connecticut Chapter strives to provide knowledge and assistance to help people with MS and their families maintain the highest possible quality of life. These goals are achieved through vital national and local programs.

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Local Student Speaks Up; Classmates Listen

September 23, 2011

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
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.

9/23/11

About the Connecticut Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society

The Connecticut Chapter strives to provide knowledge and assistance to help people with MS and their families maintain the highest possible quality of life. These goals are achieved through vital national and local programs.

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 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 people worldwide.

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