Greenwich student receives National MS Society scholarship

Lawrence Dunn

Lawrence Dunn

Lawrence Dunn, of Greenwich, has been named to receive a National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, 2015 Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Fund Scholarship.

Dunn, 18, a graduate of Greenwich High School, will attend Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., to pursue a dual degree in biology and chemistry.

In addition to Dunn’s course load of 17 honors and AP classes, he volunteered at Greenwich Hospital and participated in the state’s ‘We The People’ simulated congressional hearing competition. He finished school with straight A’s through his time at Greenwich High.

But, as driven and eager to soak up new knowledge as he is, Dunn might have learned the most important lesson of all from his mother.

“When I look at someone with a disability, that is exactly what I see: a person who happens to be living with a disability,” said Dunn. “My mother has MS, but the condition comes second in her life. She does not let the disease define who she is, and I don’t think anyone else should, either.”

More than 6,500 Connecticut residents, like Dunn’s mother, live with multiple sclerosis, a potentially debilitating disease. The cause is unknown and there is currently no cure. Symptoms can include numbness in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness, loss of mobility and, in some more severe cases, total paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted.

As a recipient of the Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Fund Scholarship, Dunn hopes to earn his degree from Cornell and then continue his education at the graduate level. He aspires to become a doctor with a specialization in either infectious disease or oncology.

Dunn 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 4. He is one of 30 students receiving a 2015 scholarship from the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter.

Petit family 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, caregivers programs and scholarships. 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 and local programs for families affected by MS.

Information for the 2016-17 school year scholarships will be available on the National MS Society website on October 1st. For more information on MS or for additional information on 2015 MS scholarship criteria, please contact the Connecticut Chapter at 860-913-2550 or visit www.ctfightsMS.org.

Program Continues To Grow Across the Country

The National MS Society established its scholarship program for students who have MS or a parent living with MS 12 years ago, and it immediately became a source of great encouragement for families concerned that MS might put college out of reach. This year, more than $1.2 million in awards were presented to over 800 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 recipients are eligible to reapply each year to be considered for a future award. The program is competitive and awards are not guaranteed.

“For the Dunn family and others diagnosed with MS across the country, there are very few known sources of scholarship assistance specially targeted for these families,” said Lisa Gerrol, Connecticut Chapter president and CEO. “MS shouldn’t stand in the way of an education, and we are hopeful this program will give families some relief.”

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Most people 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. It is the number one disabling neurological disease in young to middle-aged adults.

About the National MS Society

The Society mobilizes people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS. To fulfill this mission, the Society funds cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, facilitates professional education, collaborates with MS organizations around the world, and provides programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move their lives forward. To move us closer to creating a world free of MS, last year alone, the Society invested $50.2 million to support more than 380 new and ongoing research projects around the world while providing programs and services to over one million people. Join the movement at nationalMSsociety.org.

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