Press Release

MGA Roadtrip Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE “Campaign for MG Awareness”
Date:  Jan. 10, 2012
Place: Lake Havasu, AZ
Contact: Carole Brown 617-306-0793


No, not kidding at all. Carole Brown is on a serious mission: driving the United States coast to coast to draw attention to a little-known disease called Myasthenia Gravis, or MG. But it’s not an MG she’s driving—it’s her 1971 VW Bus named The YesWeCan CamperVan, dedicated to raising MG awareness across the United States in the thousands of miles to come.
Brown, whose mother was diagnosed with the neuromuscular auto-immune disease MG in 1944, was horrified when she discovered that patients are waiting years to get diagnosed in present day America. “People are afraid when they don’t know what they have, and all the time this disease is doing more damage to their nerve/muscle endings so they get weaker and weaker,” she says. Neurologists say it can be confused with MS or other neuromuscular diseases, so it’s not easy to diagnose quickly. That’s why Brown is focused on building public awareness. Symptoms to look for are: blurred and/or double vision, droopy eyelids, difficulty chewing and swallowing, slurred speech, extreme weakness in arms and legs, and difficulty breathing. She says, “If you have a family member or friend with these symptoms, get them to a neurologist right away and ask them to test for MG.”
When asked about the success of her trip so far, she smiled and said, “I was a little worried when I left Cape Cod last November because I tried all year to get sponsors, but none came forward. But once I got on the road everything changed. The word started to get around the community of MG patients and Volkswagen enthusiasts, and we’ve received all kinds of support to keep us on the road with our campaign, from free or discounted parts and repairs to dollars for gas.”

One of the highlights of Brown’s trip was reaching the 1,000th friend of The YesWeCan CamperVan on Facebook, and receiving sponsorship from the patient group, MG Flakes. The group had taken a collection in memory of one of their members, Joe, who had recently passed away from MG complications. Wanting to pay tribute to him while at the same time supporting Brown’s drive for MG awareness, they decided to sponsor The YesWeCan CamperVan with the collection funds. “The YesWeCan CamperVan now proudly bears his name and theirs,” says Brown.

So what’s next for Brown and her classic VW bus? The most historic part of the MG awareness drive will be a trip down Route 66. “In the spring, I’ll be driving back east on Route 66 in order to get even more attention for MG,” says Brown. “We really need help, not only for gas but for a new engine as well. In the 4,500 miles so far from Massachusetts to Arizona, we’ve had three repairs to keep us on the road, but now the engine really needs a rebuild in order for us to keep clocking up the miles and keep spreading the word. If we could get some business sponsorship, that would be so wonderful. It’s not only about funding—it’s about support and recognition from others that they care about what the patients are going through.” And what they go through is illustrated by patient stories in the MG awareness section on the website

There are several easy ways to get involved with Carole Brown’s drive for MG Awareness, including visiting The YesWeCan CamperVan’s group on Facebook. “Or even come out and see us on the road,” says Brown. “And if you are able to donate a few dollars for gas, that would be great too.”

“It breaks my heart,” Brown said, “that autoimmune diseases get so little attention when, in America today, more people suffer from these diseases than cancer or heart disease. Help us put MG on the map today; too much time has gone by already.”

Carole and The YesWeCan CamperVan arrived in Lake Havasu Monday to participate in Buses By The Bridge this weekend. Anyone who would like to know more about MG may visit Carole at the event, held at Windsor 4.

For facts about MG, the route that Carole and TheYesWeCan CamperVan are following, and ways to support their mission, see the links below.

TWITTER: @YesWeCanJourney and @vw4causes ; use #MGCB for tweets about MG