Project Sleep, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about sleep health and sleep disorders, proudly announces the recipients of the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship. Due to a $5,000 matching contribution from Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Project Sleep is awarding ten scholarships this year—double the number anticipated.
Founded in 2014 by Julie Flygare (Founder and President of Project Sleep) and the Graham Family, the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship is the first-ever scholarship program supporting students with narcolepsy. The scholarships, $1,000 each, are awarded to high school seniors planning to attend four-year universities who exemplify courage and hope while living with narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder of the sleep/wake cycle that affects 1 in 2,000 people. The most common symptoms include periods of extreme sleepiness during the day (comparable to staying awake for 48-72 hours straight); cataplexy, sudden muscle weakness triggered by emotions; hallucinations while falling asleep or waking up that are often frightening; and sleep paralysis, temporary inability to move or talk while falling asleep or waking up. For children with narcolepsy, the burden and stigma of increased daytime sleep can affect academic performance and social acceptance in school.
Though the program is only in its second year, the call for applications reached over 1,400 college counselors and 34 students applied. The applicant pool included residents of 20 states, from Washington to Massachusetts.
Originally, the scholarship’s fundraising campaign raised $5,000 from generous individual donors, allowing for five scholarships—an increase from the 2014 program in which two scholarships were awarded. The matching gift from Jazz Pharmaceuticals expanded the program even further. “There were so many well-deserving candidates, so we were absolutely thrilled that Jazz’s wonderful contribution allowed us to give ten scholarships,” says Flygare. “This year’s recipients have overcome significant adversity and represent a brighter future for narcolepsy.”