May 4th marked the beginning of the fourth year that I serve as the executive director of the American Sleep Apnea Association.
Perhaps it is fitting that I note the day while on the campus of Plymouth State University where my son is a second semester freshman. The motto of the school is the Latin in the title.
The work I am doing feels so right. My diligent efforts to expand and enhance the resources the association makes available to those seeking information and support, are making a difference. It would be too much to say I am saving lives, but fair to say that I am improving the quality of lives for some who need help and seek it out.
There is more to do... so much more to do, that sometimes I am overwhelmed. The challenges of leading a small organization with a large mission are many, but I endure; helped by the members of our Board of Directors and through the financial support of many (large and small).
My proudest accomplishments came late in my third year... the 3rd Sleep Apnea Awareness Day lecture, was probably the best one to date. In addition to Terri Weaver speaking on the efforts of snoring and sleep apnea on the family, Ashley Keenan spoke on her experience as a young woman living with the condition and ASAA Board member Nancy Rothstein provided compelling reasons for the need to do more. It is available on the Internet and as a DVD as a permanent record of the event.
The Apnea Advocacy Action Program... our entrance into grassroots advocacy. Apnea patients have an easier way to speak up and speak out on issues of importance to them and their families. Our first "call to action" is in collaboration with the National Sleep Awareness Roundtable and involves asking Congress to provide additional funds to the CDC for data collection activities on sleep and sleep-disorders. I am pleased with the response and look forward to further developing this resource.
Finally, this accomplishment is still in process Assistance Program (CAP). In partnership with , but is likely to be among the most beneficial... the CPAPResMed the ASAA will make available a limited number of Positive Airway Pressure devices through the A.W.A.K.E. Network of support groups to those who have no insurance and cannot afford to purchase a device. This is a pilot program and one I hope we can expand. I highlight still in process, because the details of the program are being finalized now. Stay tuned for developments!
I'll close this first post in a long time with a necrology. Two people, on nearly opposite coasts, from two very different stations in life passed away over the weekend... former football player Kevin Mitchell (age 36!) and a young man just shy of his 20th birthday, Nate Williams... both died in their sleep. The disclosed culprit in one case was sleep apnea. In the other, it can be safely assumed that OSA played a part.
There much too much still to do... watch this space for updates from the medical conferences starting later this month... please continue to support the important work of the ASAA with a financial contribution.
All the best,