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Youth Ambassador Program

The Youth Ambassador Program is a national program designed to train promising young members of Narcolepsy Network to advocate for people with narcolepsy. Youth Ambassadors learn how to be leaders and representatives of NN all while building friendships to last a lifetime.

Each Youth Ambassador (YA) is active in their community – making presentations to their schools, holding fundraisers for NN, writing their government representatives telling them how legislative changes can affect their healthcare, just to name a few examples.

Questions about the program can be emailed to

Meet our 2018-2019 Youth Ambassadors!

Caroline, a 16-year-old junior from Williamsburg VA, has narcolepsy with cataplexy, but that has not stopped her from being an active student. She is a varsity rower, Scholastic Bowl “nerd,” and an advocate for rare illness patients. She is currently communicating with her current high school and her former middle and elementary school administrators to get the school district informed about the signs and symptoms of narcolepsy. She is attending Rare Disease Week in Washington DC to advocate for PWNs and is participating in grand rounds with the help of her neurologist to inform doctors about the nuances of narcolepsy. She is excited to make a difference and NN is helping her do so!

Julia is a sophomore in high school. She was diagnosed with type 1 narcolepsy at the age of eleven. She fundraises and advocates for Narcolepsy Network in her community in Brooklyn, New York. As a Youth Ambassador, Julia wants to teach adolescents about the importance of sleep and sleep disorders.

Sean is 15 years old and from Rockville Centre, New York. He was diagnosed with type 2 narcolepsy when he was around 12 years old, however, he seems to have developed cataplexy over the years since he was diagnosed. Sean lives and breathes sports, especially basketball. Luckily, his narcolepsy doesn’t affect him and his sports that much. He has a very good support group of friends and loves to embrace the fact that he has narcolepsy!

Originally from New Jersey, Ishika is currently a pre-junior (year 3 out of 5) at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was diagnosed with narcolepsy at age 18 during her senior year of high school. She spent her entire youth believing that she simply lacked the capacity to be successful and motivated. Almost three years later, she owes her self-awareness and strides toward self-betterment to narcolepsy. Even though having this condition has put her through more darkness than the average person, she sees it as an amazing opportunity for personal growth and feels she is better equipped for the future than she would have been otherwise. She says, “It is bewildering just how many people with disabilities are not aware of their condition and/or of the resources available to them. Everything I have learned about coping with narcolepsy as a college student and seeking disability accommodations, I have learned through Narcolepsy Network and the amazing people I have met at the conferences, and I don’t know where I would be today if it weren’t for them.” She chose to become a Youth Ambassador because she wants to continue that legacy by advocating for her fellow PWNs as well as others with invisible illnesses—including her best friend who has Lyme Disease. Three years ago, Ishika was dismissed as “lazy” and a “slacker,” had no support (or accommodations) from her school; her GPA plummeted and was ready to give up. She has since learned her self-worth, become a 4.0 student, and continues to improve herself in every way possible one step at a time.

Annie is a 14-year-old from Naperville, IL. She is a freshman in high school. When not studying for school or sleeping for hours on end, Annie enjoys writing, singing, playing lacrosse, being with friends, and playing with her puppy, Milo. After testing negative for many blood disorders and even one doctor saying “she’s just growing,” Annie was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in April 2010. Since then, she has received amazing support from her family, friends, and even teachers. Annie says, “I’m so thankful to have had such amazing teachers who not only understand my invisible disability but even learn what life is like with narcolepsy. I’ve had so many people ask me further questions, which makes me motivated to spread awareness to schools and legislative boards alike.” Annie is excited to see what being a YA will bring.

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