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Nicole Jeray, 43, professional golfer with narcolepsy.
When were you diagnosed with narcolepsy? In 1996, when I was 25. For five years, I went to doctors looking for an answer. Once I was diagnosed, I was put on different medications with varying success, but now I'm on a medication that is tremendously helpful.
You seem to not only be living life but thriving. How? Perseverance. That's how I was raised. My mother has been dealt a whole lot of lemons and makes lemonade: my father died young, and she rolled with the punches. I learned not to give up. You find ways to make your life better. Everyone has some challenge; mine happens to be narcolepsy.
What keeps you going through the difficult periods? My commitment to raising awareness of narcolepsy and showing that it doesn't have to stop you from living your dreams. People usually hide their narcolepsy, ashamed because the world thinks of it as laziness. I'm part of a campaign, “Swinging for Sleep” (nicolejeray.com/swinging-for-sleep ) that raises money for the Narcolepsy Network (narcolepsynetwork.org ) and Wake Up Narcolepsy (wakeupnarcolepsy.org ).
The 2014 Narcolepsy Network conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center from Oct. 17-19, 2014, in Denver, CO.