News: WUN Awards Stanford’s Mignot $50,000 Narcolepsy Research Grant

Ongoing Support in the Search for Narcolepsy Cure

Worcester, MA – July 3, 2014 – Wake Up Narcolepsy, Inc. (WUN), a nonprofit organization working to speed diagnosis of narcolepsy and help in the search for a cure, recently awarded a research grant for $50,000 to Dr. Emmanuel Mignot, Director of the Center for Sleep Sciences and the Center for Narcolepsy at Stanford University’s School of Medicine.

Presenting a $50,000 research grant Dr. Emmanuel Mignot are young people with narcolepsy (L-R) Thomas Gow, Trent Strobel, and Lauren Gennett.

Dr. Mignot is internationally recognized as having discovered the cause of narcolepsy. The WUN grant will underwrite his continuing work on the genetic and environmental co-factors contributing to the development of narcolepsy.

The team of 14 WUNners in this year’s Boston Marathon raised the funds awarded to Dr. Mignot, marking the fifth consecutive year of WUN’s involvement in this historic race. WUN presented the grant to Dr. Mignot at its fourth annual Wake Up Nashville! benefit event on June 20.

“I have never been more optimistic about the future of narcolepsy research and the ability of science to one day find a cure for this devastating sleep disease,” Dr. Mignot said. “Despite the complexity of the disorder, we continue to make progress toward the day when narcolepsy no longer bears the designation ‘incurable.’ We are deeply grateful for Wake Up Narcolepsy’s ongoing support of our work.”

Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder affecting some 200,000 Americans and 3 million people worldwide. The condition is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, which usually first appears between the ages 11 and 17. Many sufferers also experience other debilitating symptoms. These can include cataplexy — brief but disabling periods of muscle weakness or complete physical collapse usually brought on by emotions such as laughter or surprise.

David Gow, a 2014 and 2013 Boston Marathon WUNner, is a Director and Co-founder of WUN. He said, “As the father of a teen-age son with narcolepsy/cataplexy, I’m all too familiar with the life-altering effects of the condition, for both him and our family. We continue working day and night to spread greater understanding of narcolepsy, so proper diagnosis can take place sooner. And we are dedicated to helping in the search for a cure, as supported by our sustained grants to Dr. Mignot and other leading researchers.”

Narcolepsy can impair virtually every facet of a person’s quality-of-life, from family and social interactions, to self-esteem and career choice. Though treatment is available, it is not uncommon for 10 years to pass before a proper diagnosis is made, robbing the sufferer – and the family – of an acceptable quality of life.

Sadly, many physicians, teachers, parents, and others who could help are not familiar with its symptoms. So delayed or inaccurate diagnosis is common, leading to years of unnecessary suffering. Raising public awareness and building support for medical research will help the millions worldwide struggling with the disorder.

Tabitha Crawford, Chair of the Wake Up Nashville! event, said, “Generous donors are the heart and soul of everything WUN does to help people everywhere living with narcolepsy, such our son. We’re honored to continue supporting Dr. Mignot and other of the world’s foremost researchers working to improve treatment and find a cure.”