The 2018 NATIONAL MG Walk Hero is… Lauren Jarman!
Graciously accepted after personally raising close to $40,000 in the last two years.
Lauren has defied all odds battling one of the rarest, currently incurable autoimmune disorders with iron willed determination. She has an unwavering positive outlook on life, and most importantly, the overwhelming support of her friends & family. Initially, her symptoms were discovered in the Spring of 2011, a mere two weeks before our wedding. After several tests, Lauren was diagnosed with generalized, sero-negative Myasthenia Gravis commonly referred to as ‘MG’ which literally means grave muscle weakness. Lauren’s type of MG is shared with less than 1/10th of 1% of all MG patients.
Shortly after our honeymoon Lauren had her first MG crisis. In her case, this means entering an intensive care unit with immediate intubation [ventilator] and placement of a feeding tube for an extended period of time until the ability to breath and feed herself on her own returns. This was the first of many hospital visits, or mini ‘vacations’, and the start of our journey with MG.
Key symptoms we learned to watch for include; slurred speech, trouble chewing, choking, fatigue, droopy eye, double vision, and extreme muscle weakness. A simple explanation is her brain is sending messages to her muscles to function, but there is a blockade to prevent them from receiving the signal.
From 2011 – present, Lauren has been admitted to the ICU over a dozen times and required a ventilator for 75% of them. Each hospital stay varies, but she is typically admitted for 10-14 days with several months of recovery that follows. Instead of giving up or feeling sorry for herself, she applied to, and was accepted by Georgetown University’s School of Health Studies graduate program. In 2015, Lauren earned a Master’s degree, and is now an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner working with an Infectious Disease private practice.
If going back to school, practicing medicine and coping with the symptoms of MG wasn’t enough… We also had two children born prematurely due to a MG crisis. Charleigh Grace was born at 32 weeks in 2015, and Arthur Graeme was born at 33 weeks in 2018. Lauren had HELLP Syndrome and Preeclampsia with Charleigh Grace (as if she wasn't high risk enough). With Arthur, Lauren had a tear in her uterus that went undetectable until delivery. If we waited any longer, there was a strong possibility we would have lost Artie before he was born.
Though there were many moments of fear and days of despair, each crisis seemed to produce a miracle. Lauren would go from a ventilator, to me carrying upstairs to bed each night, to a walker, and finally temporary remission. Our two greatest miracles are Charleigh Grace and Arthur Graeme as there are very few MG women who ever deliver babies while undergoing an MG crisis. As my father in law has drilled into our heads, "if the bad days weren't so bad, the good days wouldn't be so good".
As her husband, I can simply say she is an amazing mother, wife, friend, and someone who is eager to help everyone around her before thinking of herself. This disease chooses its victims at random and can strike at any time without warning. Research for a cure of Myasthenia Gravis is not well funded nor is it well known. Lauren and I hope you will consider supporting our efforts to find a cure. We are leading an MG Walk at Wannamaker Park in North Charleston May 19th, 2018.
Proceeds will go to the Mysasthenia Gravis Foundation of America [www.myasthenia.org]. If you would like to participate in the walk or sponsor Lauren as she WALKS [Yeah!] Please click the donate link on this page. Every dollar we raise brings us closer to a cure.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”
- Winston Churchill