Cameron Gregory was honored Thursday by some special visitors representing the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter.
The student, a 3rd grader in Debbie Stolstrom's class, has been named this year's recipient of the "Hayley & Michaela Petit MS Youth Award" from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter.
Dr. William Petit Jr., along with Lisa Gerrol, president of the Connecticut Chapter of the National MS Society, presented Cameron with the award.
"My mom started working for the chapter in 2009 and I did my first walk in 2010," Cameron said when asked how he got involved with the MS Society. Cameron's mother, Heidi Wiegel, was also on hand when he received the award. Cameron first became aware of the disease because one of his mother's friends has it.
"There are benefits that come with every job, but what Cameron is doing and learning – that has been the biggest benefit of this job," said Wiegel.
In addition to participating in the annual MS Walk, Cameron has also been involved with other fundraising efforts and has directly assisted individuals with MS. He recently spent three days leveling the ground in the backyard of an Elmwood resident who has MS and relies on a scooter to get around. Cameron's work enabled the man to access all parts of his backyard with the scooter.
Cameron already says he wants to work for the MS Society when he is an adult.
Cameron will be leading his "MS Superkids" team in West Hartford's MS Walk on April 22. He plans to wear his orange "Superkids" cape.
Cameron is the fourth recipient of the Hayley & Michaela Petit MS Youth Award which was established to honor the memory of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, who had MS, and her daughters Hayley and Michaela. It is presented annually to a young person in the community who has made a significant impact on raising funds and/or awareness to fight MS. Cameron is the youngest-ever recipient of the award.
Petit said that his daughter Hayley had raised more than $55,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society over an eight-year period, and Michaela had been planning to take over her efforts.
The Petit family has also established the "Hayley’s Hope & Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Fund" which continues the work started by Hayley and Michaela Petit assisting Connecticut residents and their families living with MS. The fund provides scholarships for college freshman who either have MS or have a parent with the disease. It also provides educational programming and services related to pediatric multiple sclerosis.
For more information about the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter, visit their website.