Meet the 2019 Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship Recipients

Project Sleep awards a record 18 scholarships in 2019

Project Sleep is thrilled to introduce the 18 recipients of the 2019 Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship program. This is the largest class of recipients to date, with each student receiving $1,000 towards their college education.

“This year’s recipients exemplify tenacity and self-awareness—life skills that will serve them well as they chase big dreams,” said Julie Flygare, J.D., president & CEO at Project Sleep. “As we congratulate this year’s recipients, we look towards the future with ambitious goals to grow the scholarship program and ultimately make a larger impact within the sleep community.”

More than 80 students from across the country submitted applications this year making the applicant pool the largest and most competitive to date. In just six years, Project Sleep has awarded a total of 68 scholarships totaling $68,000.

“Low public awareness of serious sleep conditions often delays proper detection and diagnosis, and can lead to stigma and isolation,” said Flygare. “This scholarship program sheds light on under-recognized serious sleep conditions, validates and honors an inspiring group of young adults overcoming adversity, and creates a sense of community among those navigating similar circumstances.”

The Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship was founded in 2014 by Flygare and the Graham family as the first national scholarship program of its kind. The program aims to support the educational aspirations of students with narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia while also raising critical awareness for the conditions within high school and college communities.

Funds for the scholarships are raised through Project Sleep’s annual fundraising campaigns and thoughtful donors. The organization would like to extend a special thank you to the Hypersomnia Foundation for partnering with Project Sleep to award five scholarships to students with idiopathic hypersomnia this year. Likewise, Project Sleep is grateful to Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Harmony Biosciences, LLC for their generous contributions that supported the 2019 program.

Meet the 2019 Scholarship Recipients:

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Cameron

Sugarland, TX

Cameron was diagnosed with narcolepsy in the fifth grade. It took time to understand and adjust to narcolepsy but he has never allowed it to control him. Cameron played varsity soccer all four years of high school and graduated in the top 12% as a member of the National Honors Society. He is heading to Texas A&M University in the fall to study accounting with aspirations to go to law school.

Caroline

Alphoretta, GA

Caroline was recently diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia during her senior year following several years of symptoms. During high school she loved having the opportunity to be a four year varsity member of the gymnastics team and participant of HOSA and her schools graphic design program. With support from teachers and doctors, she managed to graduate Magna cum Laude. She will be attending Brigham Young University – Idaho this fall, studying exercise science.

Khalaya

Lithonia, GA

Growing up with narcolepsy led Khalaya on a path that required strength, courage, and a bit of luck. For years, she struggled with her identity before deciding what having narcolepsy would mean to her. In the fall, Khalaya will attend Georgia Institute of Technology, aiming to become Computer Science-Artificial Intelligence Specialist. Someday, she hopes to work abroad and start STEM learning initiatives in low-income communities.

Samuel W.

Topeka, KS

Samuel was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy a few months ago after experiencing symptoms throughout high school. Nevertheless, he made the Superior Honor Roll and was inducted into the National Honor Society. He holds many leadership roles within his community. This fall, Samuel will attend the University of Kansas to pursue a degree in architectural engineering.

Thomas

Phoenix, AZ

Thomas was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in his junior year of high school after many months of tests and various treatments. Despite the challenges this presented, he graduated this May 2019. Thomas played on his high school’s D1 varsity hockey team for 4 years, representing his team at Hockey Nationals for the last 2 years. He was a member of the National Honor Society and the Psychology Club. He will attend Arizona State University this fall to study digital culture with a concentration in music.

Samantha

Redding, CT

Samantha was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy at the age of 16. While it was challenging to perform well in high school with untreated symptoms, she has achieved outstanding academic performance awards for her perseverance. In high school, she participated in the National Charity League, Girl Scouts, and is a National High School Scholar. In addition, she is very involved in volunteering with children in underserved communities and hopes to continue this during her time at Tulane University. Sam is planning to study political science and hopes to one day work in public policy and advocacy.

Mary Grace

Cypress, TX

Mary Grace was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy at the age of 17 within a year of first experiencing symptoms. Throughout high school, she has been a member of the National Honor Society as well as the youth ministry leadership at her church. She participated on the varsity track and cross country teams all four years of high school and will participate in both sports at Texas A&M University at College Station. Mary Grace will study allied health with a focus in kinesiology with plans to pursue a masters degree in physical therapy.

Sam D.

Peoria, AZ

Samuel was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia at the age of 18. Throughout high school, he suffered the symptoms assuming he wasn’t getting enough sleep. In high school, he participated in the marching and concert band, and varsity tennis. Samuel will attend Arizona State University, majoring in electrical engineering. Sam’s goal is to work towards success in his professional career to make electric technology even more practical than it is now.

Sydney

Schofield, WI

Sydney was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia about five months ago after dealing with debilitating sleep symptoms for over a year. She is feeling much more like herself with treatment and was able to graduate at the top of her class. Sydney loves to get lost in a great book, movie or creative writing and loves all things vintage. She has enjoyed multiple mission trips and looks forward to more service projects. This fall, Sydney will attend the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point to pursue a degree in biology/pre-med, with aspirations to pursue a medical degree in forensic pathology.

Emily P.

Lone Tree, CO

Emily was diagnosed with type 1 narcolepsy with cataplexy at the age of 14 after experiencing symptoms for two years. In high school, she participated in volleyball, track and field, theatre, choir, student government and was a member of several honor societies. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, watching romantic comedies, snowboarding and dancing! Emily looks forward to her future as she aspires to study theatre and creative writing at the University of Iowa.

Katelyn

Cumming, GA

Katelyn was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy her sophomore year of high school. In high school, she participated in Student Government Association, Flood Club, National Technical Honors Society, and FCCLA. She also mentored at a nearby elementary school and served as a sports medicine manager for her high school football team. In the fall, Katelyn will attend the University of North Georgia where she plans on majoring in early childhood education.

Emily S.

Huntsville, AL

Emily was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in high school. After receiving great care from her doctor and support from family, friends and teachers, her quality of life greatly improved. Emily has enjoyed tennis, cheerleading, art, spending time with friends and babysitting. Emily has participated in many clubs such as Spanish Club, Art Honors Club, Missional Outreach, and FCA, andloves to volunteer at her church. Emily graduated with honors and will attend Auburn University in the fall.

Hanna

Winter Park, FL

Hanna was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia as a sophomore in high school. She’d felt that sleep had taken her life away for years, so getting answers felt joyful as she realized she was no longer alone. In high school, Hanna was class vice president, and involved in National Honors Society, student government, and rowing. She also has a huge heart for kids, and is involved in her church’s children’s ministry. When she’s not babysitting or napping, Hanna loves spending time with her friends and family, traveling, and painting. She will attend Florida State University in the fall to study speech-language pathology toward becoming a speech pathologist.

Jacob

Ft. Myers, FL

Jacob was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy at the age of 12. He faced challenges managing his symptoms, but found his passion in music and percussion which provided therapeutic relief while also motivating him to strive for excellence. In high school, Jacob performed with the Naples Philharmonic Jazz Youth Orchestra and the FMHS Jazz Band. Through perseverance and grit, Jacob auditioned for and is pursuing his dream to major in drum set performance at Berklee College of Music with aspirations to become a professional performance musician.

Trenton

Escalon, CA

Trenton was diagnosed with narcolepsy at the age nine, requiring him to be home-schooled until eighth grade.He recently graduated as co-salutatorian of his high school class and will attend Pepperdine University in the fall where he will major in history and minor in screenwriting, with the hopes of entering the film industry. His hobbies include reading and playing tennis.

Allison

Winchester, MA

Allie was diagnosed with narcolepsy when she was 17 years old, after years spent struggling to find a diagnosis. Though her fatigue presented as a challenge, it did not limit her, as she enjoys skiing, cooking, spending time with friends, and traveling. This fall, Allie will attend Lafayette College with hopes of pursuing a degree focused in writing.

Hannah

Springville, AL

Hannah’s experience with narcolepsy placed a calling on her life that she never knew she had. She is now aspired to enter the field of sleep behavior and become a sleep specialist. Hannah will attend the University of Alabama majoring in Psychology on a Pre-Medical track in order to pursue sleep research. Her diagnosis does not keep her from doing the things she loves such as dance, golf, and traveling.

Aaron

Huntsville, AL

Aaron was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia at the end of his freshman year of high school after years of struggling. Despite this, he took many AP courses and is graduating with a good GPA. Aaron enjoys hiking, pottery, blacksmithing, whittling, and listening to music. Aaron is looking forward to attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham this fall where he will study nursing.

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About Narcolepsy and Idiopathic Hypersomnia:

Narcolepsy is a neurological condition affecting 1 in 2,000 people worldwide. Symptoms include excessive sleepiness, cataplexy (sudden muscle weakness triggered by emotions), sleep paralysis, and frightening hallucinations while falling asleep or waking up. Idiopathic Hypersomnia (IH) is a chronic neurological disorder marked by an insatiable need to sleep that is not eased by a full night’s slumber. 

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