The Story of William Shatner - Another Celebrity Saved by CPAP
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The Story of William Shatner - Another Celebrity Saved by CPAP
With sleep apnea gaining more public attention in recent years, a number of celebrities have become increasingly vocal about their experiences with the disorder, and William Shatner is one of the most prominent examples. Famous for his starring role as Captain James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek series, Shatner has gone on to star in other popular shows such as T.J. Hooker and Boston Legal, and recently produced the primetime series UnXplained, which aired Saturday nights on the History Channel. Now 89 years old, Mr. Shatner has been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), but refuses to allow the disorder to slow his continued success and philanthropy. In the ten years since his diagnosis, William Shatner has become a leading advocate for sleep apnea treatment and awareness, and more recently has joined the company SoClean to promote their automated CPAP cleaner and related products. Seeing this as a way to improve device sanitation on a global scale, Mr. Shatner has become one of the country’s leading proponents of proper sleep health, proper CPAP hygiene, and most importantly, long-term therapy compliance.
A New Cause
In addition to his starring roles on television, Willieam Shater has written numerous books, both fiction and non-fiction, and regularly speaks at events on a range of subjects, from entertainment and the arts to health and finance. Even at 89, he continues to write, direct, and produce for new projects whenever he has time. And when it comes to sleep apnea, Mr. Shatner is always willing to offer his support and advocacy for the cause, whether spreading awareness about the disorder, pushing for more access to quality care, or encouraging patients everywhere to adhere to their CPAP therapy treatments. Recently though, Shatner added one more important talking point to his message: CPAP sanitizing and cleaning.
When Mr. Shatner became a spokesperson for SoClean last year, he had no idea the whole world was on the verge of a major health crisis, or that CPAP and other breathing equipment would play a major role in its prevention. But now in the midst of a pandemic, Shatner’s role as spokesperson has not only helped to bring attention to the disorder at a critical time, but has also allowed him to focus specifically on CPAP hygiene, a life-or-death issue that is more important now than ever before.
According to posts on his Facebook and Twitter page last summer, getting diagnosed with sleep apnea was a major turning point in Mr. Shatner’s life. “After I was diagnosed with sleep apnea 10 years ago,” he says, “my CPAP machine changed my life. But until I got my SoClean, I never really understood how important it was to clean my CPAP every day—and how simple it could be.” He goes on to explain how his partnership with SoClean gives him the opportunity to promote the idea of regular, daily sanitization to other sleep apnea sufferers around the world.
The SoClean Disinfector Device, now called the SoClean 2, works by automating the CPAP sanitization process using activated oxygen, a term for ozone gas. The SoClean machine pumps the purifying gas through the equipment using a connecting tube. This lasts for two hours, as recommended by the company. According to the SoClean website, activated oxygen kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria that collect on CPAP equipment. CPAP equipment usually requires daily cleaning of both the water chamber and the mask, as well as weekly cleaning of the tubing, depending on the product. All parts must also be air dried to prevent bacteria or fungi from forming. An automated cleaner makes all of this much easier and can potentially improve hygiene and safety as a result.
While there has been some controversy over ozone-generating products, the biggest concern is that people follow the instructions and wait for the green light to signal that it is safe to disconnect and use the equipment. It is also recommended to allow the equipment to air out before using. While these are real concerns that should be addressed, there are many patients who fail to regularly clean their equipment due to the time and effort it takes, and endangering themselves and others as a result. Supporters of automated disinfectors, like Mr. Shatner himself, are more concerned with the bigger picture of widespread treatment compliance and proper hygiene.
Spokesperson and Ambassador
From SoClean page - When Shatner was diagnosed with sleep apnea, he was prescribed CPAP therapy and experienced the benefits almost overnight. But according to an article on the SoClean website, Mr. Shatner wasn’t initially informed of how important it was to keep his equipment clean and sanitized. When a friend suggested that he try SoClean, he found it both highly effective and easy to use. “I never really understood how important it was to clean my CPAP every day to prevent germs and bacteria,” Shatner said in an interview. “And SoClean makes it simple.” He became a loyal customer of their product, then a spokesperson and ambassador for the company, great titles for a man who played the captain of an intergalactic mission. Just as he traveled throughout the universe with a mission of peace on Star Trek, he now travels throughout the world with a mission of healthy living and life-saving therapy.
As quoted on The Drum last summer, Robert Wilkins, chief executive officer of SoClean, said: “As far more people around the world are diagnosed with sleep apnea and beginning CPAP therapy every year, there is a greater need for education around the disorder to help sufferers remain compliant with their life-saving therapy.” Mr. Wilkins hopes that Shatner’s image as a hero and icon will bring new awareness to the disorder and its treatment, helping people all over the world get the help they need and learn how to improve their CPAP experience.
In Shatner’s initial line of SoClean advertisements, he is portrayed as an advocate who barges into bathrooms and bedrooms to show other CPAP users how to clean their equipment using SoClean. He tells the patients that he never has to worry about germs making him sick because he uses the product. The ads seem to be as much about treatment as they are about SoClean. At a time when sanitization means everything to people, the last thing doctors want to see is patients stopping therapy over safety concerns. By lending his star-status to the cause of CPAP compliance and sanitation, William Shatner is using his power and influence to save lives, a commendable move for a man in the twilight of his years.
For more information on William Shatner, his legacy, or his current activities, visit: WilliamShatner.com.
AASM - https://aasm.org/fda-safety-cpap-cleaning-devices-ozone-ultraviolet-light/
Facebook.com - https://www.facebook.com/williamshatner/posts/when-i-was-diagnosed-with-sleep-apnea-10-years-ago-my-cpap-machine-changed-my-li/10157177264431737/
FDA.gov - https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-reminds-patients-devices-claiming-clean-disinfect-or-sanitize-cpap-machines-using-ozone-gas-or
Ispot.tv - https://www.ispot.tv/ad/ooV9/soclean-bill-in-the-bathroom-featuring-william-shatner
Lookatthestars.org - https://www.looktothestars.org/celebrity/william-shatner
SoClean - https://www.soclean.com/en-ca/sleep-talk/2019/07/08/william-shatner-how-the-soclean-has-changed-my-life
Sleepassociation.org - https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep-apnea/cpap-cleaners/soclean/
The Drum - https://www.thedrum.com/news/2019/06/03/william-shatner-unmasked-the-new-face-and-spokesperson-soclean
The Sleep Doctor - https://www.sleepdr.com/the-sleep-blogb/celebrities-and-sleep-apnea-who-do-you-know/
Twitter.com - https://twitter.com/williamshatner/status/1135543516304510976?lang=en
WilliamShatner.com - https://williamshatner.com/ws/history-to-premiere-new-anthology-series-the-unxplained-hosted-and-executive-produced-by-william-shatner/