In 2011, Tommy had overcome a lot with his health, and wanted to find a way to give back and help others with MG. In searching for an existing support group, he found the national MGFA, and a conversation with the CEO led Tommy to starting the first support group in New Orleans. Tommy, a former intern with WWL-TV Channel 4 (now a huge media sponsor of the Walk), was granted air time on the local broadcast channel to promote the new support group. Immediately upon finishing the interview, Tommy walked by the desk of one of the station’s employees, Charlene Watkins, who had just watched his interview. She showed him her MG Thymectomy scar, and told him he was one of the first people she had met living with this disease. Together, they started and built the New Orleans Support Group to what it has become today with a database of more than 100 patients, neurologists, family members, friends and caretakers across Louisiana and Mississippi.
In 2012, Tommy was approached about getting involved in the first MG Walk in New Orleans, and 2 years later, started serving on the board of the MGFA as the Communications Chair. He uses his 16 years of PR, communications and journalism experience to bring much-needed media attention and awareness to MG and the MG Walk. Tommy currently works as marketing director at the Baton Rouge-based Taylor Porter, one of the largest and longest-standing law firms in Louisiana.
Tommy is excited for the New Orleans Walk (now in its 6th year) on March 25 to help kick off the MGFA National Conference in New Orleans on March 26-28. Tommy, along with strong family and community support, has worked hard with MG patients and their families across the New Orleans area to make the Walk a true awareness event and celebration with New Orleans food and culture and a great family atmosphere. His favorite part of the Walk is, after all the hard work of getting to event day, seeing the wave of families coming over the Lafreniere Park bridge to support their loved ones, and watching those in the MG community feel a great sense of hope.
Twenty-five years later, as he reflects back on having MG as a kid and the advice he would provide to all MG patients, Tommy remembers a sign hanging over his childhood bed reading, “Never Give Up.” “With this unpredictable disease, there will be bad days, but there will also be good days. And you just have to get up every morning and keep fighting the battle, using the support system of your loved ones, to get you through anything.”
Dr. Larriviere, a native of Texas, earned his Law Degree in 1991 and went on to earn his medical degree in 1998 from Baylor College of Medicine. He completed his residency in Neurology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA and then went on to complete his Fellowship in Neurophysiology at the University of Virginia in 2003. In 2005 he completed the Greenwall Fellowship in Bioethics and Health Policy at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD. He has been active in teaching medical students, residents and law students since 2003. He joined Ochsner in 2011 as the Residency Program Director and the Vice Chair for the Department of Neurology. He is currently the Chief of the Neuromuscular Division, and Medical Director of the Ochsner ALS Clinic. Dr Larriviere is active in the MGFA and is currently accepting new MG patients.
MG WALK IN THE MEDIA!
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On MG Walk Day, we gather to celebrate those we love who live with MG, commemorate the research we’ve helped to develop with funds raised!
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MG Walk Office
1707 N. Randall Rd, Suite 200
Elgin, IL 60123
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