MG Walk Heroes

2018 National MG Walk Hero


Lauren has been living with MG for over 6 years now, and it has certainly been a challenging diagnosis. She was first diagnosed with myasthenia gravis in April 2011, right before her wedding. She had a droopy eyelid that was causing concern, and with her wedding day approaching, she got it checked out right away. She went to multiple urgent care centers to figure out what was going on, but was ultimately diagnosed by a neurologist working on the same floor that she was working as a nurse. At this time, she had also gone for a CT scan that showed something that was alarming, and went into surgery to have it removed. But because of this surgery, and it’s affect on her MG, Lauren went into crisis and was in the hospital on a ventilator for 3 days. This was the first of four very major MG crises she would endure, the second happening a year later and landing her on a ventilator for 5 days, and another while pregnant with her daughter. In the 6 years she’s had MG, she has also been intubated about 7 times. 2 years ago, she and her husband welcomed their first child, and it was after the birth of her daughter that Lauren finally went into remission.

One of the things that has shocked her most since her diagnosis, is how little doctors know about MG. During her first crisis, the ER didn’t seem to know what to do and was overwhelmed, though luckily the pulmonologist knew what to do. Just recently she underwent Lasik eye surgery and was given a prescription for a medication she knows would react negatively with her MG. The knowledge seems to be very limited, and a member of the medical community, and the MG community, Lauren hopes to bridge that gap.

2016 was the first year Lauren was able to participate in the MG Walk…and became one of the most successful fundraisers of the entire campaign. Her team, Vent Stoppers, raised over $18,000 for the South Carolina MG Walk, thanks to the generosity and support of her family and friends. In 2017, they surpassed that and raised over $21,000, and this year they are well on their way to raising even more! She and her husband, Dave been an integral part in moving the Walk to Charleston and working to engage the local support groups in the area and the large medical community.

As the National MG Walk Hero, she hopes to inspire others to keep their positivity through their new reality with MG. She has been through so much since her diagnosis, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. She is working hard to raise the funds and awareness needed for MG patients so there can be better treatments, no complications, and ultimately a cure for MG.

2018 National MG Walk Medical Ambassador


Gavin F. Brown, M.D. was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He went to Southern Methodist University, where he majored in Psychology with departmental distinction, and graduated cum laude. He attended medical school at the University of Texas, graduating in 2005. Following this, he moved to Atlanta for Neurology residency training at Emory University. Gavin was chief resident during his final year of residency, after which he stayed at Emory for an additional year of neuromuscular fellowship training. Upon completion of training, he spent 2 years in private practice, followed by 2 years back at Emory as an Assistant Professor of Neurology. In 2014, Gavin joined the Laureate Medical Group and Northside Hospital, where he proudly works today.

Dr. Brown serves as the Medical Director of Neurology for the Northside Healthcare System, and as Stroke Director for Northside Cherokee Hospital. His areas of expertise within neurology include neuromuscular disease, stroke, and dementia.

Gavin is blessed share his life with Beth Halpern-Brown. They live in in Buckhead with 6 year-old son Zachary and 3 year-old daughter Zoe. When not working, he spends every free minute with his family, and enjoys listening to many different kinds of music. A little known fact is that he used to play the trumpet competitively.

 Thank you to all of our 2018 local MG Walk Heroes!

Jesse Benjamin – Georgia

Andrea Reece-Kitchen – Tampa Bay

Jennifer Teaff – Tallahassee

John Wonak – South Florida

Rachel Pegram – North Carolina

Jennifer Cote – National (Kansas City)

Jessica Larkin – New England

Kurt Betz – Southern Wisconsin

Hayden Whiffen – Northern Wisconsin

Janet Myder & Julian Carnes – South Carolina

Susan Klinger – TriState

Edward Czaczkes – Connecticut

Kelley Devincentis – New Jersey