“I’m looking forward to becoming a doctor, so that I perhaps can be the one to help find a cure for MS.”
Ian Robertson, 18, of Medfield, MA has a personal motivation to reach that lofty goal – his mother has multiple sclerosis (MS), and when he enters Wesleyan University in the fall, he will take the first step in that journey.
The Greater New England Chapter of The National MS Society is there to help him.
Ian is a recipient of the Society’s annual scholarship program. This year, eighteen students from the states covered by the Greater New England Chapter will receive a total of $31,000 in scholarships. Nationally, the program granted about $1.1 million to more than 700 recipients.
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.
Jami Malvarosa, 18, of Peabody, MA was diagnosed with MS two years ago. She will use her award to attend Endicott College in the fall. For her, having MS has taught her to embrace the positive.
“…MS is certainly not the worst diagnosis I could receive. I just needed to learn how to handle it and not let it control my life.
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.
“MS has cost my family a lot,” said scholarship recipient Zach Fogarty, 18, of Barrington, NH. His mother has MS and the family’s health insurance costs $375 per week. Zach will attend Unity College in the fall. “We are a strong family unit, and we love each other.”
This year’s recipients will attend schools ranging from a small community college in Maine, to the Ivy League universities of Brown and Dartmouth College. They are studying a variety of fields including: elementary education, medicine, conservation law enforcement and business. (See the 2014 scholars from the Greater New England Chapter.)
Ian Robertson’s twin brother Sean is also a scholarship recipient. He is headed to Loyola University, Maryland to study business.
“It is my hope that someone, very soon, finds a way to stop MS and keep it from progressing and further affecting my mother,” said Sean. “ I love my Mom and I will continue to support her as I head off to college.”
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.