“He told me on his dying bed to do all I could to get as much information out to the public about the dangers of sleep apnea and its life-threatening effect on the human body,” she said.
His words have guided Croft in a three-year education and fund-raising effort concerning what she said is one of the country’s most misunderstood and dangerous health conditions.
The American Sleep Apnea Association observes Sleep Apnea Awareness Day on April 18 – the date a 1981 British medical study was published about the condition, according to information from the association.
Croft, chairwoman of the association’s Georgia chapter and a member of the national board, has organized two area fundraising bowling tournaments to raise money and awareness of this condition.
The tournaments are scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m. at Stars and Strikes at 2400 Hiram-Acworth Highway in Dallas; and April 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Brunswick Zone at 2750 Austell Road near Austell.
The tournament entry fee is $20 per player with the top three bowlers each receiving a plaque and a small cash prize.
According to officials with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or instances of shallow or infrequent breathing during sleep. Each pause in one’s breathing, called apnea, can last from 10 seconds to several minutes and may occur from five to 30 times an hour.
Croft said untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, diabetes, irregular heartbeat and heart attack.
“We have raised about $300 in each of our previous bowling tournaments but we would love to break that and do even better this year,” Croft said.
In addition, funds generated by the tournaments also will assist those suffering from sleep apnea to purchase, a continuous positive airway pressure machine – commonly known as CPAP – which allows them to breathe more regularly while sleeping.
“It would be great if everyone who needed one could have one,” Croft said.
For more information, call (770) 331-3088.