Raising Narcolepsy Awareness at UCLA Medical School

julie flygare narcolepsyLast Friday, Jan. 31, I shared my inspirational narcolepsy story at UCLA Medical School. In one hour, we laughed, cried and changed perceptions about narcolepsy in future doctors.

The medical students had recently studied narcolepsy in their curriculum – briefly learning the symptoms and watching a few YouTube videos. I was honored to add my patient perspective to open hearts to the REAL narcolepsy.

“Julie Flygare brings a face to a condition students think of as either esoteric or comical,” described Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Professor Stuber, MD. “The medical students were visibly moved by her story, and actively engaged in questions to better understand her experience.” 

julie flygare narcolepsy ucla medical schoolIn my speech, I shared my mysterious symptoms and path to diagnosis. Next, I explained realizing narcolepsy was more than a “speed-bump” and learning how to cope in law school. I also described my transformation from feeling ashamed and hiding my narcolepsy to becoming a spokesperson, author and advocate.

“I found Julie’s talk to be spectacular,” said UCLA Medical School Professor Harper, MD. “Julie is gifted with delivery style. She is especially gifted in emphasizing aspects of the condition which convey the sense of  ‘with just a very few neuronal changes, there go I,’ and the terrific emotional aspects of the syndrome. She is providing a wonderful benefit for the field. The more Julie can be out there, the better recognition of a serious medical problem will be.”

Wow, receiving this feedback brings tears to my eyes. It’s been a long tough journey, but speaking is my favorite thing to do in the world. I’ll continue sharing my story with gratitude and determination. 

Thank you to Dr. Stuber, Dr. Harper and Monika for warmly welcoming me to UCLA Medical School. Thank you to Alex Withrow for his expert videography. Select clips will be available in the future. 

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