Narcolepsy Advocacy Group Founder Tapped to Return as Exec. Director

Wake Up Narcolepsy, a global nonprofit organization based outside of Boston whose mission is to enhance narcolepsy awareness, education, and research towards improved treatments and a cure, today announced that its co-founder, Monica Gow, will return to serve as its executive director. Gow previously served in the role from the nonprofit’s inception in November 2008 to October 2016.

“Monica is a strategically-minded nonprofit leader who is passionate about raising awareness of and research funding for narcolepsy,” said incoming Wake Up Narcolepsy Board Chair Mary Beth Guckian who previously served a vice-chair. “Through advocacy, development, and education, Monica has demonstrated time and again a talent for creating events and programming to enhance the research of narcolepsy and providing [support] to those diagnosed with this sleep disorder. The Wake Up Narcolepsy Board and advisors are pleased that Monica is returning to the organization to continue building upon the foundations of the creation of Wake Up Narcolepsy and continuing this important work.”

As co-founder of Wake Up Narcolepsy, Gow created and developed a start-up nonprofit organization from a local resource to a trusted national leader of over 10,000 constituents, including patients, caregivers, corporations, medical community leaders, researchers, scientists, donors, and other organizations. She successfully and fervently carried out the organization’s mission to accelerate narcolepsy research, increase awareness and improve the lives of people living with narcolepsy.

“I am pleased and excited to again engage in a meaningful way with Wake Up Narcolepsy to advance research and support programs for those diagnosed with the sleep disorder,” said Gow. “Narcolepsy remains a mystery to many in the medical community, but through research and support, progress is being made to empower those diagnosed to adapt and live with this challenge. I look forward to collaborating with those living with narcolepsy, the board, and its advisors as we continue to provide for those impacted and served by Wake Up Narcolepsy.”

Through her leadership as Chairperson since 2018, the organization has expanded its reach with education days, webinars, podcasts, support groups and fundraising efforts with the Boston Marathon and Seattle Giving Campaign. By year-end, the fundraising efforts since its inception will propel Wake Up Narcolepsy to achieve a goal of providing $1 million in grants to narcolepsy researchers. Wake Up Narcolepsy supports narcolepsy researchers at institutions including Harvard Medical School/Beth Israel Medical Deaconess Medical Center, Stanford University, Boston Children’s Hospital, Vanderbilt University, University of Toronto, Northwestern University and more.

As executive director, Gow cultivated partnerships with donors, researchers, physicians, and corporations during her first tenure.  She raised more than $2 million for research, programming and awareness through events, campaigns, and grant writing. She initiated successful educational programming, supportive services and fundraising awareness events, including 12 Boston Marathon Charity Teams,  comedy events, songwriting contests, golf outings, annual campaigns, and other engaging endeavors. Several of the events provide financial resources for Wake Up Narcolepsy to advocate for individuals with narcolepsy and their caregivers as they navigate their way through the diagnosis and treatment process.  

While serving as Chairperson for Wake Up Narcolepsy, Gow led the Worcester Institute for Senior Education (WISE) at Assumption University. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, as director of WISE, Gow grew the organization’s membership by 115 percent, forged community partnerships, and transitioned 350 lifelong learners and their instructors to a virtual learning environment. Through her fundraising prowess, WISE’s Annual Fund Campaign grew by 170 percent.

A passionate advocate for narcolepsy awareness and education, Gow has appeared on national programs such as Good Morning America and presented to conferences such as the Idiopathic Hypersomnia Conference. She has also spoken on narcolepsy at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School.

Gow earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Assumption University and her Master of Public Administration from Clark University. She also earned an Elementary Education Teacher Certification from Worcester State College.

Before establishing Wake Up Narcolepsy, Gow served as a literacy teacher in Worcester Public Schools; Account Manager, Tufts Health Plan; and supervisor/analyst, UNUM (Paul Revere Insurance Co).