Why the NICER Foundation?
NICER is an acronym for Narcoleptics In Crisis Emergency Relief.
With symptom onset commonly between the ages of 15 and 25 and an average time to diagnosis of about 10 years, most narcoleptics don’t learn the exact nature of their illness until they are about 30 to 40 years of age. Having managed to get by until then many are surprised to discover that after the strength and resiliency of youth is gone, the debilitating effects of their illness have increased to a point where they are no longer able to hold a job. Very few had any indication earlier in life that they wouldn’t be able to continue working until they reached retirement age, so most have made no financial arrangements in preparation for such an eventuality.
Many narcoleptics don’t complete their higher education and wind up in lower-paying jobs, although even highly paid professionals can be brought to their knees financially by their illness. Others repeatedly lose their jobs or are passed over for promotions due to the effect of narcolepsy on the performance of their duties.
Further, owing to the destructive influence of narcolepsy on interpersonal relationships, even in this age of “disposable” marriages a disproportionately large number of narcoleptics become divorced and many find themselves living on their own without the monetary support of their former partner. Other factors attributable to their illness frequently result in narcoleptics living their lives on a very shaky economic footing, experiencing one financial crisis after another. It is not uncommon to find narcoleptics living in homeless shelters.
Many lose their homes, are evicted from their apartments, lose their cars and other possessions and suffer various indignities though they are guilty of no wrong other than that they became ill with the sneaky, invisible destroyer of lives called narcolepsy.
The NICER Foundation's primary mission is to make cash grants to narcoleptics in crisis where the grant will either resolve the issue immediately or provide a temporary solution which will to allow the grantee time to make other arrangements.