Australia 2024: Michelle Chadwick | Hypersomnolence Australia

Delegate: Michelle Chadwick

Affiliation: Hypersomnolence Australia

Short Bio: In 2013 Michelle Chadwick founded Hypersomnolence Australia, the world’s first non-profit dedicated to Idiopathic Hypersomnia (IH), and established the Idiopathic Hypersomnia Patient Registry in Australia to address the lack of data about the condition. She also created the annual worldwide Idiopathic Hypersomnia Awareness Week and established Living with IH communities in the USA, UK/Europe, Canada, and Australia/NZ. She provides assistance to researchers and has spoken at various events and government hearings with regards to the needs of people living with disorders of hypersomnolence.

Michelle’s advocacy extends beyond IH. She joined Sleep Disorders Australia as a Board Director, and is now its Chairperson. She created the Living with Narcolepsy support group and also Australia’s first Sleep Health & Wellbeing Expo. As is often the case with small charities, her role is varied and she volunteers her time. Michelle makes herself available to various people including medical professionals, industry stakeholders, the media and also many people affected by sleep disorders. Advocacy is something that sleep disorders and the people affected by them desperately need in Australia so her goal is to improve the process to diagnosis and also the level of care and services available to people post diagnosis.

Activity: Hypersomnolence Australia (HA) is a registered non for profit health promotion charity. HA’s primary purpose is to support the medical community work towards a better understanding of Idiopathic Hypersomnia, including improved access to effective treatments and the identification of biomarkers that could lead to more accurate diagnostic tools and, ultimately, a cure. Additionally, HA is dedicated to being a strong advocate and to raising awareness and educating others about Idiopathic Hypersomnia and Narcolepsy. Our goal is to not just change the process to diagnosis but also to improve the level of care and services available to people post diagnosis.

Hypersomnolence Australia will be raising awareness of Idiopathic Hypersomnia (IH) by sharing information and other resources online. HA will also distribute free of charge factsheets and resources to sleep specialists for people living with IH and Narcolepsy.

Michelle will also be continuing her presentation and discussion series ‘LIFE AFTER DIAGNOSIS – Insights into how to live your best life’. This is a 3 part presentation and discussion on Improving overall health and wellbeing and how that can have a positive impact on managing Idiopathic Hypersomnia symptoms.

In part one we delved into the important topic of self-care. We discussed what that means and how it can positively impact your wellbeing. We also explored the concept of acceptance, which can be a transformative milestone you may not even realize you need to reach. We discussed the effects of stress and effective methods for minimizing its impact with practical tips on achieving that goal.

In part two of our series we explored healthy eating, including hydration and how making different choices can have a positive impact on our symptoms and our ability to manage them. Additionally, we looked at medication management and discussed ways to harness its full potential.

The third session focuses on sleep, the important role of morning sunlight including the impact of melatonin and cortisol. The consequences of Vitamin D deficiency and also physical activity and the benefits of Mindful Movement. This session will be held on Wednesday, 20th March 2024.

The aim of this 3-part series is to empower people on their journey with IH. Michelle’s goal is to show how taking a holistic approach to health, through a combination of healthy habits, emotional resilience, and a strong support system, people with IH can navigate the challenges of their illness and thrive despite them. Taking care of yourself is not a luxury, but rather the foundation for living well with a chronic condition. Michelle encourages people living with IH to implement even one small change to their routine to make a start. “You are not defined by your illness, but by your strength, resilience, and unwavering spirit.” – Michelle Chadwick.

Learn more about the Life After Diagnosis Series:

Location: Nationwide

Date of Activity: 12-20 March 2024

Submitted by: Michelle Chadwick