MIDDLETOWN, CONN. — Mary T. Tran, of Middletown, has been named to receive the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter’s 2013 Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Fund Scholarship.
Tran, 17, a graduate of Mercy High School in Middletown, will attend the University of Connecticut at Storrs to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree. She plans on becoming a physician’s assistant.
When Tran was nine-years old, her mother, Juanita, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Soon after, Tran became involved with the National MS Society by volunteering and walking at Walk MS every year since she was in seventh grade. Mary’s favorite part about volunteering at the walk stems from those whom she is helping.
“I find it really rewarding when they say thank you,” shared Tran.
Tran has been through the journey of MS with her mother from the beginning, providing support and care. But, Mary’s mother is not the only family member who is fighting MS - her close cousin is as well.
Becoming involved with the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, has helped Tran become more aware of what MS is and what she can do to help. Mary has even helped women who have multiple sclerosis understand what it is like to be the child of a mother with MS by being given the opportunity to talk and explain what it is like.
Tran is also extremely involved in her community. She is a long-time volunteer at Saint Sebastian Church in Middletown. Tran is equally involved in her school community. She is a member of Mercy Ambassadors, the Diversity Dream Team, and served as captain of the dance team her senior year. Additionally, Tran is a member of Middletown Youth Association for Retarded Citizens. Throughout her senior year of high school, Tran has given back to the community by completing over 500 service hours.
Tran has found motivation stemming from her mother’s fight with multiple sclerosis. Whether it is school or volunteering with the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, with her mother’s inspiration, Mary has set high goals for herself in order to make her mother proud, to succeed in life and to help others in need.
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Juanita Tran, 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.
Tran 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.
For Mary Tran, receiving this scholarship “means that I can help my mom out. That’s what it’s all about to make life easier for all of us. I want to get further ahead so my mom won’t have anything to worry about.”
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.