MEET JENNA BRADY
On April 17, 2017, six members of our Boston Marathon Team WUNners will line up at the start in Hopkinton, MA for the eighth consecutive year. We are deeply grateful to our dedicated team members who work tirelessly to both train for this prestigious athletic event, and reach out to their family, friends and colleagues for support.
To support our team in their efforts to increase narcolepsy awareness and raise funds for narcolepsy research, we would like to “spotlight” each runner so that you can understand why they have committed to be a member of the 2017 Boston Team WUNners. Our first runner “spotlight” is Jenna Brady.
In November of 2015, my almost 4 year quest for a diagnosis finally came to an end when I was diagnosed with narcolepsy. After 4 years of struggling to function socially and academically I finally had an answer. Towards the second half of high school and into college, my naps got longer and my grades got lower. I would lay on my bed after a normal day of school and fall asleep fully dressed with my shoelaces still tied, waking up the next morning with a facemask I was supposed to wash off crusted to my skin. Sitting at the dinner table when I went home for the weekend or listening to a normal lecture (even after a normal nights “sleep”) was torture. Any type of sitting still was unbearable. I would find myself a millisecond away from napping while waiting at a red light, my eyelids moving in slow motion, desperate to close. I was alive and I seemed healthy, but for years I was never truly awake.
Even though I’ve been diagnosed, I will spend the rest of my life figuring out how to mange living with narcolepsy, the best medications to take, and the interactions with other medications and conditions.
I’m running the 2017 Boston Marathon to increase awareness about narcolepsy and raise funds to support narcolepsy research. My diagnosis took 4 years but for some people with narcolepsy it can take a decade. I’m running to change the percentage of narcoleptics who are currently diagnosed from 25% to 100%. If you saw me on the street, you would have no idea that I’m not really here. But my eyes are already closing, I’m drifting off, my brain distant from conversations and lessons and people I love. I’m running the Boston Marathon because I want to increase empathy for those with an invisible illness. I want to help them discover that they’re not dumb, inadequate, inattentive, or lazy. I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to represent all people with narcolepsy, speak on their behalf, and spread awareness. We don’t have a choice about being present in our lives. But new research could change that. Thank you for your support.
Since 2010, our Boston Marathon Team WUNners has raised more than $400,000 for narcolepsy research. To donate to Jenna’s Boston Marathon Wake Up Narcolepsy fundraising campaign, please click HERE.
Wake Up Narcolepsy is dedicated to supporting narcolepsy awareness and research to find a cure. To learn more about Wake Up Narcolepsy, please visit our website HERE.