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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 20, 2012

One of 14 MS Scholarship Winners

SANDY HOOK, Conn. – Rachel Gregoire, Sandy Hook, has been named to receive the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter’s, 2012 Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Scholarship.

Gregoire, 17, who graduated from Newtown High School, will attend DePaul University in Chicago, Ill., in the fall. She plans to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in anthropology. Gregoire was accepted to the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), where she completed a biotechnology course. She completed two internships with Western Connecticut Health Network and Danbury Hospital.

Gregoire is member of the Newtown High School’s women’s soccer and track and field team. She works at Pizza Palace in Newtown, busing tables and answering phones. In addition Gregorie’s many extracurricular activities, she and her family hosted a student from Lyon, France. Gregoire also devoted a great deal of time to helping her mother, Sherri, at home.

“I spend a lot of time after school with my mom now, not necessarily taking care of her but hanging out and watching movies,” said Gregoire, whose mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when Gregoire was young. “During this time, I help my mom get through her difficult days.”

Gregoire first learned of her mother’s multiple sclerosis, a potentially debilitating disease, at the age of 10. Her mother’s illness has moved Gregoire to take on additional responsibilities at home, helping out with the housework, laundry and preparing meals. Despite the challenges at home, Gregoire is able to focus on her dreams of becoming an archeologist.

“Rachel has the interest and drive to succeed,” said Ana Mendes, a counselor atNewtown High School. “She has already taken on experiences well above those of a typical high school student. “Rachel avails herself to the opportunities in front of her.”

More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Sherri Gregoire, have multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system. Multiple sclerosis generally affects more women than men and is 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.

Rachel Gregoire 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 10 high school graduates receiving a 2012 Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Scholarship and one of 14 students overall receiving a college scholarship from other chapter funds, including the Jo-Ann Concilio Memorial Fund and the Corn-Carter Family Scholarship.

Petit family scholarships are made possible through the Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s MS memorial Fund, which supports National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, 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 Haley and Michaela, were active with the chapter helping raise funds to support scientific research for cure and local programs and services. 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 parents 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


Laura Desiral is a junior at Quinnipiac University. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations. Desiral is currently conducting a public relations internship the at National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, 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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