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The Connecticut Chapter works to improve the quality of life for people affected by MS in Connecticut and raise funds for critical MS research. Join the movement toward a world free of MS.



June 18, 2012

BETHEL, Conn. – Sandra “Paola” Medrano, Bethel, has been named by the National MS Society to receive a four-year scholarship.

Medrano, 18, who graduated from the Christian Heritage School in Trumbull, will be attending Wheaton College, in Wheaton Ill., this fall. She plans to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in biology or applied health science. She hopes to become a physician assistant. Medrano, who graduated in the top five percent of her class, was an AP Scholar, named to the CHS High Honor Roll and a member of the National Honors Society.

Medrano is the secretary treasurer for both her high school government and the National Honors Society. She played lead trumpet in the jazz and symphonic bands. She was the school’s most improved player and served as chaplain of her soccer, basketball, softball, and tennis teams. She has volunteered on mission trips to the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Haiti and will serve in India this summer. Medrano tutors children and adults in Spanish. She is a piano instructor, and Medrano also cares for young children at her church nursery.

In 2003, Medrano’s mother, Mercedes Medrano, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and could no longer work. Medrano started working part time at the Village of Brookfield Commons, to help with family expenses.

“Multiple sclerosis has taught me to remain hopeful despite how dismal things may appear,” said Medrano. “If it were not for MS, I would not have learned how to hope in adversity or how to trust in the midst of confusion”

More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Mercedes Medrano, have multiple sclerosis, and 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.

Medrano 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 13 others receiving a 2012 MS college scholarship. Ten applicants received scholarships from the Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Fund. Others received scholarships from either the Jo-Ann Concilio Memorial Fund or the Corn-Carter Family Scholarship.

Petit family scholarships are made possible through the Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Fund, which specifically supports National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, family programs. The fund was established in 2007 by the Petit 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 to raise funds to support scientific research for a cure and local MS programs. 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


Natalie Goodskey is a junior at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree in nonprofit leadership. Goodskey is currently conducting a communications internship with the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, located in Hartford.

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 is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts 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 leading to better understanding and 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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