Berlin Graduate Awarded MS Scholarship
BERLIN, Conn. — When Berlin native Kim Tynik received the letter announcing that she had won the 2008 National Multiple Sclerosis Society scholarship, some would say the entire block heard her joyful response.
“You could hear her scream from across the neighborhood,” recalls her mother, Pam Tynik.
Kim Tynik is one of four Connecticut teens receiving a scholarship through the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter. She is being honored for her relentless perseverance, outreach and academic proficiency, according to Lisa Gerrol president and chief professional officer of the Connecticut Chapter.
“It is a pleasure to, along with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, award this scholarship to such a bright and compassionate young woman,” says Gerrol. “Ms. Tynik has demonstrated an exceptional ability to aptly express the challenges faced by a family affected by MS, while remaining hopeful and positive.”
Tynik is no stranger to challenges. When Tynik was 12 her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a sometimes debilitating disease, and at 16 Tynik, herself, was diagnosed with a tumor on her pituitary gland.
“When I was just 12 years old I watched my mother go through one of the most difficult times in her life,” Tynik recalls. “Watching your mother, the one who has always been your Superwoman, lose herself in an illness is difficult to process.”
But it was watching her mother’s strength that helped Tynik stay positive through her own medical crisis. As the end of her junior year of high school approached Tynik developed an unrelenting migraine, which led to the diagnosis of a benign nickel-sized tumor on her pituitary gland. Tynik found herself dealing with side effects from her medication, including hair-loss and weight-gain. After more than a year of treatment, Tynik’s pain continues.
This has never stopped Tynik, however. She says she has learned to be a fighter from her mother’s positive nature.
“As my mother fought daily to remain independent with the simplest of household tasks, life went on and she showed nothing but a smile,” says Tynik.
More then 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Pam Tynik, battle the potentially debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system. There is no cure. Symptoms can include, among other things, 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.
Funds donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter, ensure ongoing scientific research to find better treatments and a cure. These funds also provide for vital programs and services offered by the chapter to those in the state living with multiple sclerosis.
Tynik’s strength spans all aspects of her life, according to her mother. Even while participating in many extracurricular activities, Tynik graduated in the top 30 percent of her class. She is an avid swimmer, attending state championships multiple times throughout high school. She is also a poet, and president of Berlin High School’s international club. In addition, Tynik works at CVS as a pharmacy tech, and hopes to become a pharmacist. Tynik graduated this spring from Berlin High School, and plans to attend University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn., this fall to continue her pharmaceutical education.
As she faces this next challenge, Tynik says she will still draw from the important lessons her mother has taught her.
“Thanks to the influence of my mother, and the struggles we have faced as a family, I know that I have the strength to celebrate and take on the future,” she says.
Tynik is one of four high school graduates this year receiving scholarships from the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter. Additional recipients include: Olivia Burdick, a Waterford resident, Kelsey Hodge; a Guilford resident; and Kylie Justo, a resident of Southington. The National MS Society Scholarship program is offered yearly to vocational, technical or college-bound, high school seniors diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or whose parent has MS. Applications can be downloaded by going to http://www.nationalmssociety.org/. For more information, please contact the Connecticut Chapter at 860-714-2300, e-mail programs@ctfightsMS.org or visit http://www.ctfightsms.org/.