Delaware News

Dad's fight inspires Hayes grad, brings scholarship

Hannah Maynard earns $2,000 scholarship from MS Society

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Hannah Maynard, a Delaware resident who graduated this year from Hayes High School, has been awarded a $2,000 scholarship from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

She is one of three recipients in the Ohio Buckeye chapter area.

This scholarship, for those who have MS or those who have family members with MS, stuck out to Maynard as she was applying for awards.

"A lot of the other ones were about leadership or involvement ... this one hit home," she said, referring to the fact that her father, Jeff Maynard, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001.

The diagnosis came after an episode that left the entire right half of his body numb. With the help of medication, the numbness passed and didn't seriously return until 2008, when Hannah was in middle school.

At that time, her father's condition worsened to the point where he could barely walk without a cane.

"Someone asked me at a water park why it was a good idea to be drunk at 10 in the morning," Maynard said, referring to her father's unsteady gait.

Dealing with a parent's illness and the ignorance of strangers could have negative effects, and she said it is difficult to see a loved one in pain or embarrassed, but overall, it has had "more of a very positive effect on me."

That's because her father has never let his disease get him down, Maynard said. He lost some weight due to the sickness, then decided to start exercising again and eventually lost 135 pounds. The exercise proved to control the disease better than his medications had, motivating him to continue getting in shape, Maynard said.

He began running half-marathons, most recently the Capital City Half Marathon last spring, which his daughter ran with him.

"It was one of the best experiences, to have her involved in something I'm doing," Jeff Maynard said. "It was a huge motivation for me."

His story motivates Hannah as well, which is why she decided to compete for the scholarship, she said.

"This was my way of showing to not only my dad, but also the world, what (he) means to me," she said. "Nothing set him back. I can't let anything in my life set me back."

The scholarship will help her pay tuition at Capital University, where she plans to study pre-medical biology in hopes of becoming a pediatrician.

That's enough for any parent to be proud of, but the feeling goes both ways.

"I really love my dad," Hannah said. "I think he's an amazing guy and an amazing dad. I couldn't be more proud of him."

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