The North Florida Chapter of the National MS Society has announced this year’s recipients of its annual Scholarship Program: Khalilyl Bogarty, Cameo Isleborn and Tiffany Kemple.
The program helps students affected by multiple sclerosis pursue a college or technical school education. It is open to high school seniors who live with MS or have a parent who does; or anybody living with MS who has not yet been to a post-secondary school.
In addition to the emotional toll, MS can have a substantial financial impact on a family. The direct and indirect costs of MS, including lost wages — even for those with health insurance — are estimated at more than $70,000 annually per household. This makes funding a college education that much harder.
Khalilyl Bogarty was diagnosed with MS when he was just 16 years old. “I never could have imagined myself with a disability, especially not MS,” Khalilyl recalls. “I thought I was too young for such a sickness. MS affects my balance and ability to recall information when necessary.” But MS hasn’t stopped him from being an outstanding teenager. A cross country and wrestling letterman and an Eagle Scout, Khalilyl attends Terry Parker High School and hopes to attend the University of South Florida become a civil engineer. “This scholarship is a wonderful way to help individuals and their families further their education and improve their lives,” Khalilyl says. “Many people may not have the opportunity to attend school without support from donors.”
Cameo Isleborn and Tiffany Kemple both attend Mandarin High, and their mothers live with MS. “My mom has MS,” Cameo says. “It is a devastating disease that has made me different from my friends, but has also made me a stronger person.” Cameo stays busy by keeping up her GPA, volunteering, and working part time. She plans to enter the University of Florida’s pre-med program in the fall. “Because my mom has a disability, I am aware of the challenges other people with disabilities face daily,” Tiffany says. Through the National MS Society North Florida Chapter, Tiffany attended MS Kids Camp, a weekend retreat for kids who have a parent with MS. “Attending MS Kids Camp was fun, educational and introduced me to kids that shared the same challenges in life,” she said. Tiffany plans to attend Florida State University with a focus on criminal justice.
The Society established its scholarship program eleven years ago, and it immediately became a source of great encouragement for families concerned that MS might put college out of reach. This year, over $1.1 million in awards was presented to over 700 new and renewal recipients nationwide. Applications are evaluated on financial need, academic record, leadership and volunteer activities, a statement of educational and career goals, and letters of recommendation. Applicants are also asked to provide a personal statement describing the impact MS has had on their life. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $3,000 and typically cover one year, although a limited number of awards may exceed this amount.
“For the Bogarty, Isleborn and Kemple families and the hundreds of thousands diagnosed with MS across the country, there are very few known sources of scholarship assistance specially targeted for these families,” said Corrina Steiger Madrid, Chapter President. “MS shouldn’t stand in the way of an education, and we are hopeful this program will give families some relief.”
Information about scholarships for 2015-16 will be available on the National MS Society Web site on October 1st. For more information, call 1-800-344-4867 or visit www.nationalMSsociety.org/scholarship.