After helping to establish a Nonprofit organisation to support disadvantaged young women Michelle Chadwick decided to dedicate her time to a cause closer to home. Michelle was diagnosed with Idiopathic Hypersomnia in late 2008 after struggling with the condition for more than 25 years. Unfortunately, the diagnosis didn't provide any closure; in fact, it only served to leave many questions unanswered. She found that without knowing a definite cause of Idiopathic Hypersomnia treatment is only symptomatic and is often not overly effective.
Michelle quickly discovered there was a lack of awareness and quality information available about Idiopathic Hypersomnia. She also found that there were no support services available to patients, no research being done in Australia and no PBS approved medications specifically for Idiopathic Hypersomnia. When patients were diagnosed there was nowhere to direct family and friends so that they could better understand the condition and the implications it has on quality of life.
While there are many organisations that represent various sleep disorders there were no organisations anywhere in the world that catered specifically to Idiopathic Hypersomnia. Michelle was inspired by a group of fellow Idiopathic Hypersomnia sufferers to change that. At the beginning of 2013 Michelle set up the world’s first Not for Profit organisation dedicated to Idiopathic Hypersomnia. Hypersomnolence Australia (HA) was registered as a Health Promotion Charity in March that year. HA is committed to being a strong advocate, raising awareness and educating others about Idiopathic Hypersomnia. HA's goal is to change not just the process of diagnosis but also the level of care and services available to patients post diagnosis.
In September of 2013 Michelle launched the world’s first IH Awareness initiative. This was a month long event that is now recognised as the annual Worldwide Idiopathic Hypersomnia Awareness Week® held every year during the first full week in September.
Hypersomnolence Australia has come a long way since it was established. We now work with a range of professionals to make sure our information is both helpful and informative. We receive advice and support from various medical health professionals in and outside of Australia and work with other sleep organisations to share valuable information and provide a link to our broader Idiopathic Hypersomnia community.
Along with being the Director of Hypersomnolence Australia Michelle Chadwick is also the Chairperson of Australia's peak patient body for sleep disorders,