Too sexy for your CPAP? Think again

Sunday, January 23, 2011

MILWAUKEE – The models strolled the runway in comfy pajamas and the latest in CPAP fashions. No, it wasn’t New York’s famed “Fashion Week,” but a December fashion show aimed at presenting CPAP in a new light.

“It was time to get out there and have fun with (CPAP),” said Steve Gardner, director of marketing for the Sleep Wellness Institute.

The Morning Blend, a local TV show, featured the fashion show in an 8-minute segment. The models—two Sleep Wellness employees and a patient—were outfitted in a variety of CPAP equipment, masks and accessories, and Gardner provided the commentary.

“We wanted to show people that CPAP isn’t this horrible, scary thing that clamps onto your face and makes you uncomfortable,” he said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Viewers were offered a discount if they mentioned the show, and the video was posted on the Twitter feed and website of the Sleep Wellness Institute’s CPAP business, CPAP2Go, which has locations in Franklin and Waukesha.

Gardner is a regular on The Morning Blend. He appears monthly and discusses topics like sleep disorders and CPAP. The gig has helped establish the Institute as an authority on sleep in the Milwaukee area.

Sleep apnea is an issue that Gardner, who is also executive director of the Reggie White Sleep Disorders Research and Education Foundation, holds dear. He was diagnosed with the disorder three years ago.

“It always bothers me when people say, ‘Oh, that’s terrible,’” said Gardner. “No, it isn’t. I realize that for some people it takes adjustment. I think it’s no big deal.”