Why drive for vw4causes.org and MG Awareness?
When Carole Brown made her first cross USA trip in 2010, she soon realized that her classic VW bus (named “The YesWeCan CamperVan“) got attention wherever it went. Once back home in Massachusetts she started to think about how great it could be to use that attention for a good cause. The cause that Carole chose was MG.
MG, Myasthenia Gravis, is a neuro-muscular autoimmune disease that causes generalized muscle weakness but it is so little known that diagnosis still takes years rather than months, losing valuable time and causing even more suffering. Carole Brown chose MG because she sees a great need for more public awareness and education and also she knows a lot about the disease; her mother was diagnosed with MG in 1944 at the age of 20, and died of a 2nd autoimmune disease at the age of 71. Since 1944 there has been little increase in knowledge of MG, and it’s common for patients to wait years for a correct diagnosis, some dying before that happens. It used to be that women between 20 and 40, and men over 50, got MG, but now small children and even babies suffer from this disease.
In drawing attention to MG, Carole hopes patients will benefit in two ways: faster diagnosis and treatment AND more understanding and empathy from the general public.
During the summer months of 2011, Carole parked her VW bus around her summer home on Cape Cod with signs about MG, and talked to hundreds of tourists who came up to ask about what she was doing with her old VW. In November 2011, Carole left the east coast of Massachusetts and drove a total of 7853 miles across country over 7 months on the road to the west coast of America, meeting patients and talking to as many people as possible about MG. Later in 2012 she spent several months in her home country of England, where she visited the MG Association and also campaigned for greater awareness at local VW events in London and Kent.
In 2014 Carole moved to northern California, and she continues to drive Dexter for MG Awareness. She might not be doing as many miles or attending as many VW shows as back in 2010 0r 2012, but any time she parks there’s always somebody who comes up to check Dexter and asks “What’s MG?”
In future, we are hoping Carole and Dexter (aka The YesWeCan CamperVan) will be joined in both the UK and USA by many other classic vehicles, so that we can host some fun car shows at which our public education programs can raise awareness for little known diseases, like MG, that deserve much more attention.
If you drive a classic car or know someone who does, are an avid supporter of a classic car club or own a business related to classic vehicles (or simply care about our cause) and would like to volunteer to drive or attend a show in support of auto-immune diseases, we would love to hear from you. Just add a comment in the reply box below and it will reach us. Together as classic vehicles we know we can make heads turn. Our aim is to direct that attention to raise awareness and support for those who’ve received very little to date. THANKS!
The home page of this website carries blog posts about upcoming campaigns, news from the road, updates about autoimmune diseases, and stories from patients. Please read and comment whenever you can. You can also join the conversation on Facebook at The YesWeCan CamperVan’s Facebook page and through twitter, where your comments will help spread the word and draw much needed attention to this cause. You can even buy a VW4Causes sticker for your vehicle !
Other pages on this website with more information about MG and autoimmunity are:
- What is Myasthenia Gravis?
- MG support groups
- MG therapies-immunomodulators
- Living with MG
- Patient’s stories
- Autoimmune Disease