WATERFORD, Conn. – Adam J. Shepherd, of Waterford, has been named to receive the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter’s 2013 Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Fund Scholarship.
Shepherd, 17, a graduate of Waterford High School, will attend Eastern Connecticut State University to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications.
Adam Shepherd has volunteered for four years at the First Baptist Church in Waterford and works between eight and sixteen hours each week at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital. Based on the work that Shepherd has completed at the hospital, he has developed “sophisticated interpersonal skills that will benefit his final career choice,” said Yuan-Yuan Chen, Shepherd’s guidance counselor.
Shepherd’s mother, Mary, was diagnosed with MS eighteen years ago. The impact that multiple sclerosis has had on Adam Shepherd’s life has shaped his view on what strength exemplifies.
“When people think of strength, they typically think of physical strength, such as the ability to lift weights,” said Shepherd. “That is not the same concept for me. When I think of strength, I think of all the challenges that my mother was able to overcome while living with multiple sclerosis.”
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Mary Shepherd, 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.
Shepherd 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. He is one of 16 high school graduates receiving a 2013 scholarship from the Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Scholarship Fund.
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.
“Receiving this scholarship is an honor because I was able to take something good out of all that my mom has gone through and it is a way to honor her,” said Shepherd.
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.