Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Some days are a joy...some are not

We celebrate so many advances in the treatment of PH that sometimes we forget the other side of the coin.

Yesterday was a sad day.  Within a two hour span we learned of the passing of two good people, two good friends, Phil LeGrande and Wendy Bockhorst.

May they rest in peace.

Debbie Castro wrote to fellow staff about Phil...

Dear Staff,

For four years, Phil donated hundreds of hours, lots of energy (of what he DID have), tons of inappropriate jokes, and even $125 to PHA during an urgent matching funds competition on Facebook. He was a support group leader, an advocate on the Hill, and one of our most steadfast and reliable daytime office volunteers.

He usually came into the office with a great attitude, in spite of always having to take breaks to rest. Of course, he came in feisty some times, but he always wanted to make a difference in the community and to help others. He came in with body aches and pains and never complained about it. He complained about everything else, but never about his pain. I loved him for his ability to LIVE life and to expect great things out of himself and others around him.

About a year ago, he stopped responding to our emails, calls, and even letters. It turns out that he was just too sick battling his PH and perhaps residual symptoms of lung cancer.

I posted a message about Phil LeGrande passing away on FaceBook and heard back immediately from at least 4 of our old volunteers. Everyone is saddened to hear this news.

Jess McKearin wrote to us about Wendy...

Dear all,

I’m very sad to report news that Wendy Bockhorst passed away earlier today. Her husband Bill called to let us know. Wendy was a PH patient, Support Group Leader in Phoenix, Ariz., advocate, special events organizer and an all-around wonderful woman.

Wendy definitely was an example of hope to other patients. Bill said that Wendy always made a point to tell others that she lived with this disease and wanted to make the most of that opportunity to impact others’ lives. They were also recently remembering the 2008 Conference together and Wendy was talking about how excited she was to attend next year’s. She was already planning for her 2010 Cure PH Casino Night – her 6th special event overall.

She spoke of why she loved planning events: “One main reason that I get involved through special events is because my PH is genetic…if I can continue working to raise funds for and awareness of this disease, then maybe the next generation won’t have to suffer as much. So much has been done in recent years, and PH treatment options now are just unbelievable... By continuing to stay involved, one day we can find the cure.”

Please don’t hesitate to offer other thoughts or memories of Wendy if you’re willing to share. I’ll create a condolence card for us to sign tomorrow.

The fight goes on.

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