Attendees enjoy first annual conference

mgMN's First Annual Meeting and State Conference was well attended and fun! Following a welcome by Diane Tower, mgMN board chair, the annual business portion of the meeting took place. Then the first of several door prize drawings began.

Support group leaders Lianne Anderson, Ellen Walle and Barb Corner updated attendees about their groups in an informal panel discussion. This was followed by a presentation titled "Who's On Your Medical Team?" Dianne Willer-Sly, a doctorate level nurse practitioner, presented a warm, engaging and thoughtful study of the various physicians, therapists, specialists, community members and others who might be brought together to diagnose, treat and care for people who have myasthenia gravis or other complex chronic diseases. She encouraged the audience to add to her list, which they readily did. Dianne's experience as a clinician and as a professor at the University of Minnesota enabled her to share a breadth of experience that was both genuine and insightful.

Following that, Vicki Engelen introduced the new website, which—if you are reading this article—you have discovered for yourself. 

After brunch, Dr. Gaurav Guliani, a neurologist and director of the new HealthPartners Neurology Center in St. Paul, Minn., gave a comprehensive overview of myasthenia gravis and current research, and outlined treatment options. Dr. Guliani fielded many questions and was very responsive to people's concerns.

Part of the purpose of the annual conference is to raise funds for mgMN. Fundraising took place in the form of a "bucket auction." Individuals donated more than 35 themed baskets or items, including a tabletop gas grill, a Minnesota apple basket, a margarita basket, a lottery ticket basket, gift boxes of 3M products, and a slow cooker stew basket. Attendees bought tickets (or chances) to win items and placed them in the jars in front of the items they wanted to win. At the close of the auction, a winning ticket was drawn from each jar, and the winner announced. 

Participants enjoyed the auction, as well as the programming, brunch and opportunity to socialize with one another. It was a great way to start a new year for this new organization. The conference planning team hopes to build on the success of this year's conference for next year. Details about the 2017 conference will begin to be revealed next summer.