If ever there was a person who embodied courage despite a seemingly hopeless situation, it is Marilyn Andersen.  

Myasthenia gravis caused weakness in her diaphragm to the extent she was hospitalized and needed a ventilator to assist with breathing. Despite being told she would need a ventilator for the rest of her life Marilyn never gave up her determination to return home and to 100% of the activities that brought joy to her life.  When a visiting nurse told her about a “diaphragm pacer” she didn’t stop until she met with the inventor-surgeon at Cleveland Clinic and convinced him to use it on the first MG patient ever!

Marilyn turned her gratitude for the success of the diaphragm pacer into motivation to tell as many people as possible about the device which acts similar to a pacemaker and stimulates her weakened diaphragm so that the ventilator is not necessary.

The demonstration of Coraggio spirit, to bravely take charge of the aspects of a dire situation you can control, to maintain an attitude of joy and gratitude, and to believe that you can live a positive and fulfilling life, makes Marilyn Andersen a truly remarkable recipient of the 2017 Coraggio Spirit Award.

2017 Coraggio Spirit Award Winner Marilyn Anderson, with Lisa, at the MG-MI Annual Conference in East Lansing

Marilyn with diaphragm pacemaker device-No more ventilator!