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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.


Local Rehab Center Teams Up With High School To Take A Plunge For MS

January 20, 2012

High School Swim Team Does Laps for MS

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Staff members at Temple Physical Therapy know all too well the challenges associated with disabling diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. They care about their patients, so much so that they’re willing to take the plunge to give back.

In December, the center, which has locations in New Haven, East Haven and Cheshire, teamed up with the Amity Regional High School swim team, to host a swim-a-thon to benefit the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, and those it serves. Michael Cianciulli, director at Temple Physical Therapy in New Haven, is a volunteer swim coach at the high school. The event, along with special fundraising efforts at the center, raised more than $3,300 for MS.


amity swim team
The Amity High School swim team poses after swimming 100 yards, 100 times for MS. The swim-a-thon raised more than $3,300 for the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter. To learn more about Do It Yourself fundraising, please

“It was an inspiring event,” said Nick Grasso, an athletic trainer at the New Haven location and also an event coordinator for Temple Rehabilitation fundraising. “Swimmers swam 100 yards, 100 times over the course of two hours. Each swimmer also raised funds, asking friends, family and local businesses to pledge. These young people were able to experience the emotional rewards involved in supporting a worthy cause.”

Temple Physical Therapy staff asked patients, colleagues and vendors to also donate to the cause. Each person who donated received a customized wristband illustrating support for the cause.

“We have patients here who battle multiple sclerosis,” said Grasso. “Everyone seems to know someone who has MS. We think MS is a great cause and one that we can get behind. We plan to continue fundraising efforts throughout the year.”

Mary Byrd, who lives in New Haven, has been going to Temple Physical Therapy off and on for nine years. Now 54, Byrd was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1997 when she was 40 years old.

Mary Byrd
During a recent therapy session at Temple Physical Therapy, Mary Byrd, who battles multiple sclerosis, gets assistance from trainer Nick Grasso. Byrd has been visiting the New Haven-based physical therapy center on and off for nine years. In December, Temple Physical Therapy teamed up with Amity Regional High School to host a swim-a-thon to benefit the fight against multiple sclerosis. The center will continue to raise additional funds throughout the coming year. For more information on MS and online Do It Yourself Fundraising,

“I love everyone at Temple,” said Byrd, who remains upbeat even in the wake of a recent disabling fall. “I really appreciate the staff. They take care of me and help me stay as active as possible. ”

More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Byrd, live with the effects of multiple sclerosis, a disease affecting the central nervous system. The cause is unknown and there currently is no cure. Funds raised through Do It Yourself events, such as the swim-a-thon, ensure ongoing scientific research to find a cure and the continuation of vital programs and services offered by the Connecticut Chapter to residents diagnosed with MS.

For more information on temple Physical Therapy, visit For more information on multiple sclerosis, its effects and the many ways to help make a difference, visit

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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