"http://www.stamfordplus.com/stm/information/nws1/publish/News_1/index.shtml - News</head> : Education Published: Jun 20, 2012 - 4:11 PM

East Catholic student to receive 2012 MS scholarship

By Laura Desiral, National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter Intern

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Laura Desiral is a junior at Quinnipiac University in Hamden. 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. PHOTO: Kaila Toce
MANCHESTER, CT - Kaila Toce, Vernon, has been named to receive the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter’s, 2012 Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Scholarship.

Toce, 17, who recently graduated from East Catholic High School, will attend, in the fall, the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Admitted to the Honors Program, she plans to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

Toce, who is ranked in the top 15 percent of her class, held leadership positions with the National Art Honor Society. She was also active in several school clubs, including the National Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor society, Ultimate Frisbee team, Newspaper Club, choir, band and Stage East, the school’s performing arts club.

Toce is active in her church, St. Maurice, Bolton, serving as a peer leader in her youth group and also as an altar server. She taught first grade Faith Formation. Toce also participates in Taekwondo, dance and works as a bakery store clerk at her local Highland Park Market.

Toce’s mother, Lisa, was diagnosed with MS in 2009. Ever since, the family has stepped up to raise awareness and funds. To raise funds for MS, Toce organized an annual dress down day event at East Catholic high School. The family participates annually in the Travelers Walk MS at Manchester Community College. Toce says her mother’s MS is a disease the family shares.

“Even though my mother may be the only one in our family that is diagnosed with MS, it’s a family disability,” said Toce. “The day that my mother received her diagnosis – we did too. We have supported each other these past few years, and I believe it has brought my family closer together.”

More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Lisa Toce, battle 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.

Kaila Toce 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.

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 visit www.ctfightsMS.org.

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