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 autoimmune disorders with a positive spirit, and no known cure. Initially, her symptoms were discovered in the Spring of 2011, a mere two weeks before our wedding. After several tests, Lauren was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, commonly referred to as ‘MG’ which literally means grave muscle weakness.
We enjoyed our honeymoon to the best of our ability, but scheduled her thymectomy (removal of her thymus gland) shortly after we returned. This was the first of many hospital visits, or mini ‘vacations’, and the start of our journey with MG.
Key symptoms to watch out 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. Worst case scenario, a MG crisis can occur when the patient’s involuntary muscles fail to the point where they can no longer breathe on their own.
From 2011 – present, Lauren has been admitted to the ICU over a dozen times and required a ventilator 75% of the time. Each hospital stay varies, but she is typically admitted for 10-14 days with several months of recovery. Instead of giving up or feeling sorry for herself, she went back to school and graduated from Georgetown University with her Masters in Nursing.
If going back to school, managing work and 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 was born at 33 weeks in 2018. Both miracle children! 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.
Through the pain, I have witnessed miracle after miracle. From our children to Lauren's recovery after every crisis and the support of those around us. As my father in law would say, "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 eager to help everyone around her before thinking of herself. I know everyone has a story, but every single dollar we raise brings us closer to a cure. Please take this opportunity to pay it forward, and ask your friends to support this much needed campaign.
This disease chooses its victims at random without prejudice. Myasthenia Gravis is not well funded or known about, but it has forever changed our lives. We are excited to support the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA) through the MG Walk being held in May, 2018 at Wannamaker Park in North Charleston.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”
- Winston Churchill