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Mark R. Stoiber, 47, President of the Sleep Wellness Institute in West Allis (Milwaukee), Wis.,  passed away unexpectedly on July 2, 2010.

Mark, along with his business partner and dear friend, Ron Baake, was co-owner of the Sleep Wellness Institute since its inception in 1994.  He had been involved in helping people with sleep disorders for more than 20 years.  He was the co-founder and initial driving force behind the non-profit Reggie White Sleep Disorders Research and Education Foundation.

Mark graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in allied health and earned his polysomnographic  technologist registration at the Stanford School of  Sleep Medicine.  He formerly served as the coordinator of the sleep disorders center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.  He was a frequent public speaker and lecturer on sleep disorders topics and was the author of “How to Guarantee Your Experience with CPAP is a Happy One.”

Always alert to new opportunities to serve, Mark created the CPAP2GO retail stores that now operate in the Milwaukee area.  He recognized that many people get inferior customer service from DME providers, and correctly determined that by offering convenient locations and hours, excellent customer service, and a wide selection of products from which to choose the stores would be successful in reaching CPAP users.

Mark’s knowledge, creativity, wit and willingness to think outside the box made him great.  He will be sorely missed.

Golfers, don’t miss the chance to play one of the midwest’s most highly rated courses and support the Mission of the Reggie White Sleep Disorders Foundation as Philips Respironics hosts the 4th Annual “Reggie” on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at the 5-star rated Hawks View Golf Club in Lake Geneva, Wis.

For just $700 per foursome, you can enjoy a sensational day of golf, mingling with celebrities, great food, a dynamite auction, and most importantly helping a great cause!  Each foursome will be matched with a celebrity golfer from the worlds of sports, television and radio, or with a Wisconsin golf pro who can offer you tips to improve your game as you play a spectacular course.  To check out Hawks View, please click here.

Among the celebrities already signed up to play are former Green Bay Packers star fullback William Henderson and former Packer and now golf long drive champion Bill Schroeder.  Bill will also put on a special Trick Shot and Long Drive Exhibition sponsored by Advanced Ear Nose and Throat Specialists of Milwaukee.  Additional celebrities include Milwaukee Wave Head Coach Keith Tozer, Milwaukee Panthers Head Basketball Coach Rob Jeter, Stephanie Sutton of WISN-TV Sports, Golf radio host Chuck Garbedian, former Wisconsin Badger football stars Derek Engler, Jamie Vanderveldt and Tarek Saleh, former Marquette University and Los Angeles Laker star Tony Smith, and a group from Todays TMJ4 that includes Susan Kim, Lance Allan, Brian Gotter, and Heather Shannon.

For more information or to sign up for the event, please click here.

And by the way, we’ve decided that having a thunderstorm in the middle of the event last year wasn’t such a great idea, so we’ll be skipping that this time around!

Steve Gardner

Executive Director

Preliminary reports of the tragic death of Chicago Bears defensive end Gaines Adams, 26, indicate that he suffered a heart attack, possibly in his sleep (according to NBC).  Reports have also stated that he had an enlarged heart, which is a common side effect of obstructive sleep apnea.  Therefore, unfortunately, it is possible that sleep apnea played a role in his untimely death.

Professional athletes, especially those who play such positions as defensive or offense line in football, are at significant risk for sleep apnea.  They usually have larger than normal necks, which is a definite risk factor, and their body mass index will often be significantly higher than the norm.  For instance, someone who is 6’3″ tall and weighs 319 pounds has a body mass index of 40, which places them at SEVERE risk of sleep apnea.  If their neck measurement is 17″ or more, they are at increased risk.  Does that sound like anybody on your favorite team?

It is important that athletes, their families, their doctors, team trainers all be aware that the body type now so typical in football is, in itself, dangerous to health.  If it leads to sleep apnea, it places them at risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, asthma, depression … and for 38,000 Americans each year it leads to their death.

We’ve seen it before.  On Christmas Night of 2004, NFL legend Reggie White passed away of a heart attack due to complications of sleep apnea.  Sadly, we will see it again.  We may have just seen it in the case of Gaines Adams.

To his family, we send our deepest condolences.  To his peers, we send our deepest concerns that they take the time to find out if they are at risk for sleep apnea.  Sleep apnea is dangerous … but very treatable.  Death from sleep apnea is unnecessary.  Knowledge is the key to preventing further tragedies.

Keep this in mind … if you snore at night and feel exhausted during the day, you might have sleep apnea.  If you neck circumference is 17″ or more (15″ for women), you may be at risk.  If your Body Mass Index is 30 or more, you are likely at increased risk.  Don’t wait … contact your personal healthcare provider and find out if you are at risk.

We have a free online sleep apnea risk assessment test available in two locations … on the home page of the Reggie White Sleep Disorders Foundation website, www.reggiewhitefoundation.org, and at www.sleepwellandlive.com Free, easy, comprehensive … it will only take a few moments for you to find out if you are at risk for sleep apnea.  Take the test.  The alternative is something not to be taken lightly.

Steve Gardner, Executive Director

Reggie White Sleep Disorders Research & Education Foundation

The Reggie White Sleep Disorders Research and Education Foundation has developed a free iPhone application that enables users to determine if they are at risk for obstructive sleep apnea.

The “app,” called Sleep Well, combines three screening tools used by sleep specialists to determine an individual’s risk of having or developing the sleep disorder that affects 18 million Americans. It provides immediate feedback once users provide answers to questions regarding their sleep habits, snoring, fatigue, and health factors. iPhone users may find and obtain the app at http://appshopper.com/healthcare-fitness/sleep-well.

The app also includes a feature that will list nearby sleep disorders centers for users.  According to Foundation Executive Director Steve Gardner, sleep disorders centers can be added to the app’s directory upon making a one-time $100 donation to the non-profit organization.  Co-founded shortly after the former Packers Hall of Famer died prematurely at age 43 by his wife, Sara, and the Sleep Wellness Institute, Wisconsin’s oldest and largest independent  sleep disorders center, the foundation’s goal is to spread the word about the dangers of sleep apnea to people of all socio-economic groups and help provide treatment to those who otherwise would be unable to access the healthcare services needed to treat obstructive sleep apnea, the disease that contributed to White’s death.

A recent visitor to our blog came here after doing an internet search for “you can’t die from sleep apnea.”

WRONG!

38,000 Americans die from complications of sleep apnea every year.  For those who think you can’t, I have two words:  Reggie White.

I also recently saw someone on Twitter who said “Sleep is for the weak.”

WRONG!

If you don’t get sufficient sleep, your body builds a “sleep debt” and can actually enter a pre-diabetic state.  So if you’re one of those who think sleep is for the weak, please enjoy your shortened, sleep-deprived life.

Steve Gardner


Lance Allan of TODAY’S TMJ4, the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee, is one good sport!  Not only does he do a great job of reporting sports news, he’s also a great sport, himself, for being willing to be “roasted” in a benefit for the Reggie White Sleep Disorders Research & Education Foundation on April 18 at the Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee.

The evening is sure to be great fun, and proceeds will benefit the Foundation’s mission of providing sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment to people whose socio-economic status makes it impossible for them to access the healthcare services they need.

For more information on the Roast, and how one lucky person can actually participate in roasting Lance, please visit the Foundation’s website.

“When It’s My Time, I Want to Die in My Sleep,” an educational video about obstructive sleep apnea, is available free of charge from the Reggie White Sleep Disorders Research & Education Foundation.  The 8 1/2 minute video focuses on sleep apnea — what it is, how it is diagnosed and treated, and who is at risk.

The video was made possible by a grant from the National Football League Retired Players Association.  It has already been distributed to all NFL teams, and is available to Arena League teams, college and high school teams, and any person who has an interest in sleep apnea.

The video can be obtained by contacting me at steve@reggiewhitesleepdisordersfoundation.org.   Please be sure to include your name and mailing address.  Please,  just one copy per request.

You may also preview the video on the home page of the Foundation’s website.

Steve Gardner, Executive Director

Reggie White Sleep Disorders Research& Education Foundation