MG Walk Heroes

2017 National MG Walk Hero

Alexis Rodriguez

During the fall of 1997, Alexis woke up one morning with diplopia (double vision) in his left eye. Soon the ptosis (drooping) of his left eye set in. As more generalized symptoms began to appear, he decided to seek medical attention. Through those visits, he was diagnosed with ocular myasthenia gravis. Over time Alexis’s symptoms evolved, leading to a new generalized MG diagnosis.

After his diagnosis, Alexis sought out as much information on myasthenia gravis as possible. Through this active research, Alexis discovered the MGFA Chapter located in Georgia. The chapter provided invaluable educational materials and peer support, which Alexis was eager to take advantage of. He signed up, and began attending their meetings. He was an active member for several years before signing on to serve as their Vice-President. During his years as Vice-President, he led the chapter to increase the number of meetings held annually, along with actively recruiting a more diverse range of Support Group members to represent the wide range of individuals affected by myasthenia gravis.

The MGFA and MG Walk Office approached the Georgia Chapter in 2012 about starting an MG Walk in their area. Alexis saw this as an opportunity to rally those with MG and their supporters, serve the community, and create much needed awareness while raising vital funds for MG. Alexis strongly believes that spreading MG awareness “is not just during the month of June (MG Awareness Month) and during the MG Walk, it’s every single day”.

Alexis will walk with his team of support at the 2017 Georgia MG Walk, including his wife Kathryn, whom he credits as his “biggest cheerleader and supporter”.

As the 2017 National MG Walk Hero, Alexis hopes to remind those with MG to be their own biggest advocate. “You need to be in control, and be involved in every decision made about your health. Find a doctor that has experience with myasthenia gravis, even if it means you have to see multiple doctors to find the right fit. Don’t let the white coat or the degree intimidate you, question your doctor and make decisions together. Don’t forget to take your medications. Try to reduce your life stressors. Find a support group! I have the privilege and honor to lead the Atlanta Support Group. We welcome new patients every single month. We provide patients with information, materials, comfort, support and love. MG is never okay, but we can be okay together!”

Check out the stories of our 2017 MG Walk Heroes across the country!

John Martin – Hawaii

Lori Whitfield – Georgia

Josie Ames – Tampa Bay

Father Ted Monica – Tallahassee

Marilyn Cohen – South Florida

Tommy Santora – New Orleans

The Trapp Family – North Carolina

Lauren Jarman – South Carolina

Sky Genz – Northern Wisconsin

Ellie Leyton – Southern Wisconsin

Amanda Jones – New England

Harry O’Leary – Janesville

Charles DeFanti & Leni Fuhrman – TriState

Thomas Anderson – Connecticut

Christi Eggleston – Indiana

Kim Eldridge – Kentucky

Larry Dix – Ohio

Terri Rowe – Chicagoland

Philip Aitken-Cade – Virginia

Laura Nyanjom – Maryland

Mistie Gillespie – Portland

Jill Hilton – Utah

Clarissa Toms – Delaware Valley

Kristina Voskes – Colorado

Shaunna Alexander – Mississippi

Sarah Davis – Arizona