It was a great day of awareness, fundraising for important resources for those living with MG, and such great support in the MG Community. Keep the momentum going! All fundraising pages will remain open through December, so there is still time to reach all of our goals. Reach out to your family, friends, and coworkers and tell them all about your great experience at the walk (be sure to show them all the photos!), and encourage them to support you. Follow up and thank all those that did donate, and please contact the MG Walk Office for any tips on post-event fundraising.
Thank you all for an amazing day, a great event, and for coming together and doing all we can to reach the ultimate finish line…a world without myasthenia gravis!
Back in December of 1987, Michele was in her freshman year of college, finishing up her first semester. It was around this time that Michele’s mom started to notice there was a drooping in her daughter’s eyelid. It wasn’t noticeable all of the time, so they waited a couple of months until finally, they went to their family physician to get this checked out. When they couldn’t come up with an answer to why she was experiencing this, she was referred to a neurologist. Upon visiting the neurologist, he conducted a Tensilon Test, which Michele recalls as the “worst minute of her life.”After the test, he knew right away that it was MG. The only other time Michele had ever heard of MG was on Days of Our Lives, when actress Suzanne Rogers was diagnosed in real life with MG, and it was incorporated into the storyline of her character. It inspired Michele, especially now that she was dealing with her own diagnosis, to learn about Rogers’ story and how she continued to deal with her MG.
From the day of her diagnosis, Michele started to decline drastically, though looking back, can recall times in her life well before she was formally diagnosed, that symptoms were starting to show and now they were all coming together. She was referred to Dr. Robert Barchi, then with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, who did weekly checkups and tests. Finally, in 1988, not long after diagnosis, they decided to do a thymectomy, which Michele says is the best decision she made. She even met someone else that same day who was undergoing the same procedure for the very same reason. It was the first time she came to realize she wasn’t alone in her diagnosis, and though statistically rare, there were others out there to inspire her and her health.
She refers to herself proudly as a “functioning Myasthenic,” as you would never know her to be sick just to look at her. She went into remission for about 10 years, with no medication at this time, and moved to Nashville in 2000. Being one to get involved and help others, she started the Tennessee Chapter of the MGFA and started the support group she still leads today.
Michele was thrilled when the MG Walk made its way to Tennessee and furthered her involvement by signing up and working hard to spread the word about Myasthenia Gravis. She’s always worked diligently with local media to make others aware of this disease because she knows awareness is so important to help others experience earlier diagnoses, which will be integral in finding a cure soon.
“Anytime you can be a hero, it’s your responsibility to be an advocate.” Michele’s own words, and a role she takes to heart. Her efforts have brought others out to the Walk, where they can meet others, learn from their stories, and feel inspired to share their own. Michele is honored to be the 2016 Tennessee Local Walk Hero and thrilled for the opportunity to reach a larger audience and continue to tell her story and the stories that have inspired her along the way. She wants to meet even more people going through their own journey with MG and encourage them to keep spreading the word and get involved so we can continue to move forward in important research.
Michele is excited to see everyone at the Tennessee MG Walk on Saturday, November 12, and will be there with her family, friends, and coworkers. She is also opening up her team to the support group and especially to those who may not have the energy right now to start their own due to MG.
And to those going through their own diagnosis, Michele says don’t be afraid. It’s a very livable disease, you just have to do you research and be your own advocate. There’s so many that don’t know about MG, and you can take on the role of educating your family and friends. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to ask questions and be educated. Believe in the strength in you!
Not sure where to begin? Check out our fundraising tools to help you raise MG awareness and increase your fundraising!
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!
Share your fundraising page and links to donate via email and on your social media accounts. If you have checks or cash funds to turn in, please let us know and we can help you add them to your fundraising page. Checks may be mailed to the address below. Please be sure you’ve written your team name in the memo field!
MG Walk Office
1707 N. Randall Rd, Suite 200
Elgin, IL 60123
If you have questions or want to know more, contact us today:
Checks should be mailed to: