Madeleine A. Gauthier, of Simsbury, has been named to receive the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter’s 2013 Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Fund Scholarship.
Gauthier, 18, a 2012 graduate of Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford, will attend the University of Connecticut at Storrs, to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history.
Gauthier was involved in her community as a Sunday school teacher at Saint Catherine of Siena Church in Simsbury. She was a member of the swimming and softball teams at Northwest Catholic, as well as serving as senior class secretary.
Gauthier works two part-time jobs: one as a lifeguard at the Simsbury Town Pool and another as an employee at Healthtrax, where she juggles multiple roles lifeguarding, teaching swimming lessons and fitness classes and working in the day care center.
In November of 2010, Madeleine’s mother, Kathleen, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. As a result, she can no longer teach or run - two things that she was passionate about both professionally and personally.
Madeleine Gauthier has supported her mother’s fight with MS by creating a team for the annual Walk MS. Team Hogwarts, as Gauthier has named the team, walks in Simsbury. According to Gauthier, the team has raised at least $2,000 dollars.
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Kathleen Gauthier, 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.
Gauthier 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 is one of 19 high school graduates receiving a 2013 scholarship.
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 helping raise funds to support scientific research for a cure.
On receiving the 2013 Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Scholarship Fund Scholarship Gauthier shared, “my mom is proud and I’m coming to my own terms with the MS. There is now something positive coming from the MS.”
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.