Sleepwalk Summary


Even though it was raining "cats and dogs" in Washington, D.C. on May 29th, Sleepwalk participants kept pouring into the Russell Senate Caucus room on Capitol Hill. The room was filled there was standing room only. Eager Sleepwalkers overflowed into the hallway. Over 1000 exhilarated activists were there to participate! The expectant and animated crowd were enthusiastically greeting each other. Believe it or not, all 50 states were represented! Colorful banners with the names of each state were passed out and the state groups began to congregate together in anticipation of the meetings with their legislators. The mood was exuberant as the group listened to various speakers who encouraged and empowered everyone in preparation to meet with their Senators, Representatives or their legislative staff.

Dr. Barbara Phillips, the American Sleep Disorders Association (ASDA) Chair of the Government Affairs Committee, welcomed the Sleepwalkers and introduced the speakers. James Walsh, Ph.D., of St. Luke's Hospital, Chesterfield, MO, also on the ASDA Government Affairs Committee, Dr. Frankie Roman, from Doctor's Hospital for Sleep Disorders in Massillon, OH, and Dale Dirks, from the Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington D.C., all spoke on behalf of the ASDA.

A Public Service Announcement (PSA) was shown on snoring and sleep apnea, that was produced by the (NCSDR) to educate the public. It was a very effective commercial and it received cheers from the Sleepwalkers.

A film crew from "THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL'S" program, "Why Things Are", was there to interview Dr. William Dement. The crew also took this wonderful opportunity to interview some of the Sleepwalkers as well.

Dale Dirks showed a video on how to approach state legislators and offered some "do's" and "don'ts" to remember when visiting legislators' offices.

A special part of the event was, Dr. William Dement, of Stanford University Sleep Research Center and a luminary leader of sleep research, sleep activism and the Sleepwalk, who described the highlights of Senator Mark Hatfield's distinguished carreer and how he was a champion of sleep research. Dr. June Fry, President of the ASDA, presented Senator Hatfield's daughter, Dr. Elizabeth Hatfield-Keller, who accepted the first Mark O. Hatfield Public Policy Award on behalf of her father. She told of a recent incident where a child came into the ER, very ill with pneumonia. After stabilizing her condition, she discovered from the parents that the child had not been sleeping well. Asking them a few other important questions, she realized the child had sleep apnea and had aspirated on her own secretions while trying to breathe. Fortunately, Dr. Hatfield-Keller was aware of sleep disorders. Otherwise, the child would not have received the proper diagnosis and treatment.

Barry Kowalski, who works for the Department of Justice, spoke about his experience with Restless Legs Syndrome. Ruth Nebus spoke on behalf of patients with Narcolepsy. Dave Hargett, a sleep apnea patient and activist from Chicago, spoke about his experiences with sleep apnea.

Dr. Dement spoke once more, sparking the crowd's spirited attitude, about the important message that the Sleepwalkers would convey to their legislators. For a final enthusiastic send-off, he had everyone yell at the top of their lungs, "WAKE UP, AMERICA!" The enthused Sleepwalkers dispersed with their designated groups to visit their elected Congressional Representatives and to educate them about sleep disorders; sharing their own personal experiences and asking for their support!


The first Great American Sleepwalk was a success due to:

Of course, this isn't the end of the story! We need to hear from each of the groups about their experiences of visiting their representatives' offices. Were they receptive? Did they seem interested? Did they say they would support our requests? Please send details of your adventure on Capitol Hill to The Sleep Well, e-mail to: Nodmaster

Please note: If you see a mistake, or wrong information, please let us know. E-mail: nodmaster. We welcome your comments, suggestions, or notification of sleep related information.

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