RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – Maeve McMahon, Ridgefield, has been named to receive the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter’s, 2012 Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Scholarship.
McMahon, 17, who graduated from Ridgefield High School, will attend Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y., in the fall. She plans to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in photojournalism. McMahon has received numerous academic awards, including the Achievement in Biology Award, 2011; Hollins University Book Award, 2011; and Cum Laude for Outstanding Performance, National Latin 1 Exam, in 2011.
McMahon was co-editor of Lodestar, Ridgefield High School’s literary magazine. She was president of the Literary Club. McMahon is also the publicist of The Company: Performing and Visual Arts Club, a program dedicated to plays, acting, theatrical production, music, dance, and art. McMahon was a member of Tiger’s Roar, Ridgefield High School’s newspaper, and was a member of Keeler Tavern Historical Museum Docent Program, a society focused on establishing historic preservation and workshops to those interested in local history. Her community’s involvement includes volunteering at Ridgefield Library’s summer reading, encouraging children and teens to read books during the summer.
“We didn’t play catch in front of our home every Friday night like most families,” said McMahon, whose father battles the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis. “Instead, I remember sitting in bed with my father every night, reading “In the Night Kitchen,” “Fox in Sox,” “Dragon Slayer’s Academy,” and all the Harry Potter books.”
In the summer of 1994, McMahon was born with Biliary Atresia, a potentially fatal prenatal condition that affects the liver. At just 8 months she received part of her mother’s liver in a living related transplant. According to McMahon, though the road to recovery was a long one, it was a success.
“Because of my father’s determination to do the things he loves despite the setbacks caused by MS, I have learned that no matter what comes my way, I can overcome any obstacle through a little adaptation and a whole lot of perseverance,” said McMahon.
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like McMahon’s father, have multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system. Multiple sclerosis generally affects more women than men and is 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.
McMahon 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 7. She is one of 10 high school graduates receiving a 2012 Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Scholarship. Four students received college scholarships from either the Jo-Ann Concilio Memorial Fund or the Corn-Carter Family Scholarship fund.
Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle scholarships are made possible through the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter’s, Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s MS memorial Fund, which supports chapter family programs. 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 Haley and Michaela, who were active with the chapter helping raise funds to support scientific research for cure. The National MS Society scholarship program is offered annually to vocational, technical, or college-bound high school seniors diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or to applicants whose parent has multiple sclerosis.
Scholarship applications for the 2013 school year will be available online in October. For more information on MS or for additional information on 2013 MS scholarship criteria, please contact the Connecticut chapter at 860-913-2550 or visitwww.ctfightsMS.org.
Laura Desiral is a junior at Quinnipiac University in Hamden. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations. Desiral is currently conducting a public relations internship the at National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, in Hartford.