Cheshire Teens Organize Basketball Tournament
To Benefit National MS Society & Petit MS Memorial Fund

By Megan Alexander, Intern, National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter

CHESHIRE, Conn. A group of civic-minded Cheshire teens have found a way to bring busy families and the community at large together and all for a worthy cause. These young adults will host the first Petit Family Memorial Basketball Tournament, Dunk It!, Saturday, March 15, at Cheshire High School in Cheshire, Conn. The event will benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter and the Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Fund.

Pre-registered co-ed or single sex teams will compete throughout the day to earn the right to participate in the grand finale championship game. Individuals of any age, families, organizations and businesses are all encouraged to form teams. Teams of five to eight participants can register online at There is a $15-per-person fee. While admission to the event is free for spectators, donations will be accepted at the door. Team check-in will take place at 9:30 a.m. Opening ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. in the Cheshire High School Thorpe Auditorium.

The tournament is the brainchild of four Cheshire teenagers: Megan Alexander, a 2007 Cheshire High School graduate; Justin Ivey, a Cheshire High School senior; Wayne Lawrence, a 2006 Cheshire High School graduate; and Stephen Selnick, a Cheshire High School senior.

"I wanted to develop an uplifting way to celebrate the lives of Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela while at the same time bring our community together," said Alexander, a co-coordinator and founder of the event, was a close childhood friend of Hayley Petit. "We decided to host an activity the three women had enjoyed as a family. Basketball seemed a fitting choice, particularly as Hayley was an avid basketball player, and the family had enjoyed following the UConn Women’s Basketball team."

Multiple Sclerosis became a cause close to the family’s heart after Jennifer’s diagnosis several years ago. Hayley, just 9 years old at the time, formed a walk team to raise funds to help find a cure for a disease threatening to rob her mother’s independence and mobility.

Over the next eight years, her team, Hayley’s Hope, raised more then $55,000 and was among the top fundraising teams many years. Hayley, who would have attended Dartmouth College fall 2007, prepared to hand the torch to her younger sister, Michaela, who was establishing her own team, Michaela’s Miracle.

More than 6,000 Connecticut residents 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, as well as to provide vital programs and services offered by the chapter to those in the state living with multiple sclerosis.

In addition to the basketball tournament, the day will feature a bake sale, concessions, music and other activities designed for family fun. This event will also highlight MS Awareness Week, March 10 through March 17. The National MS Society will be hosting an information table and addressing inquiries as they relate to MS and its effects, programs and services offered by the chapter and events hosted by the chapter.

For more information about multiple sclerosis and the many ways you can make a difference, contact the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter at (800) FIGHT MS or visit For more information on Dunk it!, a Petit Family Memorial Basketball Tournament, please visit, or e-mail Megan Alexander at


Megan Alexander is a 2007 graduate of Cheshire High School and interning with the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter Communications Department. Alexander is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in advertising and will continue her studies at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y., in August.


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