Throughout his life, Brian Griffin has watched his father battle MS. His father, Dr. Charles William Griffin, a practicing neurologist, treated MS patients regularly for twenty years before retiring due to his illness in 2012. As a child, Brian participated at Walk MS with the team known as “Charlie’s Angels,” which was comprised of his father and many of his nurses. “I have been involved with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society pretty much my whole life. My view is that when a family member has MS, the whole family has MS. It’s a family thing.”
Dr. Griffin, who was diagnosed with MS in 1995, practiced medicine out of his wheelchair from 1998 until 2012- nearly 15 years. That year, he survived a near-death experience as a result of complications with his medications. The medication led to an ulcer in his small intestine, which perforated and led to a large amount of potentially deadly bacteria to enter his bloodstream. Unfortunately, he was never able to return to work.
Back at school at Georgia Southern University, Brian was determined to help. “I felt like there had to be something I could do to help fight against something that’s taken so much away from my dad and my family.” Together with his fraternity brothers at Sigma Nu- Theta Kappa chapter, the idea to host a fundraiser for the National MS Society was born, the END MS Benefit concert. Sigma Nu – Theta Kappa sold tickets all over campus for the event, which featured three local bands and a low country boil. In what was named Georgia Southern University’s “Most Outstanding Charitable Fundraiser of the Year,” a total of $4,700 was raised for the Society. In 2013, $7,206 was raised. In 2014, the fraternity raised over $10,000 from the event and fundraising campaign. “It’s become a very well-known thing across campus that everyone wants to come to. We had over 300 people in attendance this past year. That’s a lot of people for our front yard.” In addition, the fourth annual event is scheduled for October.
“I plan to remain involved with the National MS Society until the day that they put me in the ground. My dad is the greatest guy I’ve ever met and my biggest role model. To know all that he’s done for my family and for me personally, raising money for the Society and working to fight against the disease that has taken so much from him is to me, a way to give back.”
Brian is also on the Georgia chapter’s Government Relations Committee, where he shares his personal story but also advocates for legislation that will further mobilize millions of people to do something about MS now. Brian and the other committee members speak with government officials and at public hearings.
You too can advocate to improve the lives of people living with MS, contact Tyler.Lamb@nmss.org
or call 678-672-1000.