Narcolepsy Network Celebrates 25th Annual Conference with Record-Breaking Attendance

This weekend, I traveled to Las Vegas for Narcolepsy Network‘s 25th Annual Conference, along with a record-breaking number of attendees from all over the world.

The conference, at the Stratosphere Hotel, featured presentations by leading narcolepsy specialists and various field experts – from wellness to communications. A wide variety of support groups were offered too.

Dr. Roger’s Keynote Presentation – “Narcolepsy Basics”

The keynote presentation “Narcolepsy Basics” with Dr. Eve R. Rogers was great.  Dr. Rogers highlighted important and interesting information about the history of narcolepsy. This solid presentation brought everyone onto the same page and kicked off the conference with energy and excitement.

Dr. Roger gives Keynote Presentation – NN Conference 2011

Most sessions took place at the top of the Statosphere tower with breath-taking views of the Vegas strip and surrounding mountains.  My favorite sessions included Jamie Bennet’s creative writing workshop and Stacey Hall’s NIA class.

View from NN conference room

In addition, the conference featured an exciting Silent Auction raising funds for Narcolepsy Network. The Hospitality Suite offered a great place to relax, rest and chat.

NN President, Patricia Higgins preparing Silent Auction

Over the weekend, I presented three sessions:

Writing and Blogging Roundtable:
On Friday afternoon, I facilitated the “Writing and Blogging Roundtable.” Writing is cheap therapy. Writing about trauma can strengthen the immune system and increase emotional well-being, studies suggest.

Julie Flygare leading session – NN Conference 2011
(Photo courtesy of Narcoleptic Knights)

Over 40 people attended this session – including many great narcolepsy bloggers. We shared ideas, expertise, triumphs and challenges.  I think we may have inspired a few new bloggers as well!

Advocating for Yourself and Your Health:

Saturday morning, over 60 people gathered for the “Advocating for Yourself and Your Health” session.  We reviewed basic facts and discussed strategies for effectively relaying this info to friends, family, doctors and strangers. Then we broke up into small groups to practice our communication skills with example questions.

Julie Flygare presenting advocacy session for large crowd

Joy of Movement:Saturday afternoon, I had the incredible honor of co-presenting “Joy of Movement” with fellow PWN, Cirque du Soliel performer and my personal hero – Trinity. Over 70 people gathered to hear about our joys and challenges of exercising with narcolepsy and cataplexy.  Look for a separate post about this soon!

The lights of Vegas
Once a year, the Narcolepsy Network conference offers the unique opportunity to honor our experiences living with narcolepsy. We reflect on the past; we strategize for the future; we laugh; we cry; we fall asleep; and we wake up realizing we aren’t alone.

As an added bonus, I got to meet many REM Runner followers in person for the first time!

Check back soon for additional conference highlights. 

A big thank you to Main Man of Narcoleptic Knights for documenting my sessions with great photos!
 (Please contact me for additional information about my sessions.)


  1. Anonymous on October 17, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Glad the meeting went well! Sorry I couldn't make it. Hopefully we can get together in DC soon to discuss the latest finding. Thanks again for all your efforts.
    Mark Patterson

  2. Gail on October 18, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Fabulous blog and great photos! I feel like I was a fly on the wall! So happy you were able to share your writing skills and presentations were well attended. I look forward to hearing more.

  3. Melissa on October 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    So proud of you, Julie! Sounds like this year's conference was a really wonderful experience.

  4. NarcolepsyNews on Twitter on October 19, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Dear Julie,

    The way you deal with what has become your life is an inspiration.
    The way you shared your learnings is educational and easy to try for everybody willing to give it a go.
    Thank you for being an example for some of us and a big thank you for giving narcolepsy a voice.

    It be nice to see new bloggers / writers / voices in the world of N/C.

  5. Sharon O on October 19, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Ha, Julie, loved attending your talks. Not sure I'm going to do a marathon any time soon…but if I do, the run/walk thing is the way to go. Last time I did a triathlon, I did it that way by necessity, but it sounds like a great way to train for longer distances. 🙂

    Happy to discover your blog during the conference. You and I share a positive outlook, and it's nice to spread some optimism to those who are newly diagnosed or ensnared in mourning past realities. I sure enjoy hearing how others are finding new joys. 🙂

  6. rkmlai on October 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I enjoyed my time at the conference. Meeting you in person was a highlight, one of many for me at the conference. I have appreciated reading about your experiences and perceptions as translated to remrunner. Thank you.

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