The following report is from Dana Sheets Owner at Practice Management Systems and organizer of the Tacoma ProPlayer event.
When I heard from Dr. Steve Marinkovich that he was interested in holding a Sleep Apnea Awareness event, I jumped at the chance to help make the event a successful one for everyone involved. First of all, I was certain the event needed to be held at very visible, recognizable location. The LeMay American Car Museum had just opened, happened to be right off of I-5 and was within a few miles of Dr. Marinkovich’s office. I made a phone call and that day had a tentative location that had all the right pieces to help us put our puzzle together. We needed to draw men (primarily those that may ignore the signs and symptoms of Sleep Apnea) so old collectable cars would be just one more reason to get them to show up. The exNFL football players were a natural fit as David Gergen lined up Warren Moon and David Krieg…a perfect draw for everyone in Washington!
We started a marketing campaign right away. We posted flyers in many health conscience, environments such as doctors offices, retirement communities, libraries, and one of our favorite locations was the American Legion. Most medical practioners understood the need for patient awareness and were anxious to share the news about this free event! We also created a dedicated website directing everyone to preregister for the event. Space is always limited we also offered a free sleep test for the first 25 qualified patients to register (awareness and access to diagosis go hand in hand). This really pulled things together.
Local news agencies were brought informed about the event with press releases and through personal contacts, many were excited about the event and happy to let the public know. We posted these news articles as well as promoted the event on Dr. Marinkovich’ Facebook page.
It seemed that everywhere I went people were talking about this up-coming event. I would guess that 95% of the people I spoke with, both friends and strangers, either had sleep problems or knew someone who did. They were so excited to have a place to go where they could learn and ask questions and as an added bonus meet Hall of Fame football legends.
We made several visits to the American Legion too. We knew that many of them would fit our target audience and we always love an excuse to give back and help those who have sacrificed so much for others. They were more than excited to come and participate with us.
As the day came closer, more and more people registered. We had about 230 pre register. We had a great check in system so no one had to wait to be seated. All in all we had 270 people. It has been over 3 months since the events and we are still seeing patients we met that night. Dr Marinkovitch has had many contacts asking him to be involved in continuing his patient education program, teaching others about sleep apnea.