Thursday, January 14, 2010

Introducing Generation Hope: Colleen's guest blog

There's a new group in PHA...and we're delighted as they begin to make their voice heard.  Generation Hope has been forming in recent months as a group that...  Wait, why should I tell you when one of their leaders, Colleeen Brunetti has sent a guest blog.  That's Colleen in the picture with her son Aidan.

So how exactly does one start an introduction to a guest blog spot? Name? Colleen. Why I’m here? I am 30 years old, a mother of one, a teaching professional, and I was diagnosed two years ago with Pulmonary Hypertension. I have a lot to say on the subject! In fact, I’m pretty hard to keep quiet. But as to why I’m really here… well, Rino was kind enough to lend out his blog to a group that I am really excited to be a part of. And it is my privilege, on behalf of the group, to tell you all about us here.

Introducing Generation Hope! We are a group of PH patients in our 20s and 30s. Our road on the PH Journey has been varied – from diagnosis to treatments. Collectively, we’ve probably seen just about all of it. We come together with a distinct purpose in mind. From PHA’s (snazzy new) website, “Generation Hope is an email group for college students, young professionals and other 20- and 30-somethings living with pulmonary hypertension. The group is a safe space to vent, socialize and chat about everything from relationships to exercise to conquering all of life’s adventures with PH.”  Take a look

Personally, Generation Hope has helped me form a new life motto… the goal for me is to be “Thriving, not just surviving, with Pulmonary Hypertension”. The disease turns your world upside down. It rattles you to your core. It replaces hopes and dreams and life plans with uncertainty and fear… and while those feelings may always be there, rearing their ugly little heads on the dark days, it doesn’t have to stay that way all the time. We can take what life has hurled at us and hurl it right back with a positive spin. We can have hope. Most of all, that hope is in a cure yet to come.

There is a saying that gets bounced around the PH Community, “Hope is a verb”. Reach way back, if you will, to 7th grade English class… a verb, by definition, is an “action word”. It shows action. Now if your memory is REALLY good, you might be thinking, “Wait, so that makes hope a noun. It is an idea, not an action”. Sorry, wrong! Without action there is no hope – and hope must be put into action. So, we take a little license with the English language (apologies to Webster and friends) and state, unequivocally, that “HOPE IS A VERB”.

So, what does that action look like? Well, for me and my three co-leaders of Generation Hope it means stepping forward and spearheading the e-mail group and Generation Hope’s future direction. Those three other leaders – Brittany, Lindsay, and Sean – are also pursuing pretty amazing PH advocacy projects of their own.

For Generation Hope itself, it means we are taking our first baby steps as a group and joining in on the “Path to a Cure”: This February 19 - 26, two PH specialists and Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) Scientific Leadership Council members, Dr. Ray Benza (Allegheny General Hospital) and Dr. Robert Frantz (Mayo Clinic), along with Jessica Lazar, PA (Allegheny General Hospital), are tackling the ultimate challenge together - climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, reaching its summit on February 26, 2010! Their goal? To find a path to a cure by raising $100,000 to support PHA's research program and patient- and family-serving programs.

We are challenging our Generation Hope members to create giving pages of their own to raise money in support of this amazing cause. Wish us luck. Please support us in donations, positive thoughts, vibes, and prayers. Tell your friends – tell them about us, tell them about PH. Keep the hope alive and in action.

Thank you.

Colleen and the Generation Hope Leadership Team


  1. Hey Colleen!
    Can i guys rock! I'm a PA, and i've specialized in PH since I was 23 years old. Now i am 33years young and about to climb to the top of a continent. One of the reasons i fell in love with the PH profession was because i met patients like you, patients who inspired me to live, despite any obstacles. There are several reasons i climb, but that is the core.
    Thank you for your vitality and enthusiam.

  2. Hi, I'm Karen. Since my mother was diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension four months ago, I've decided to make a blog to raise awareness of PAH. Perhaps you'd consider linking to my blog - it's

  3. Well Well Done! Very well done...You bless my socks off.Keep up the wonderful work.
    ~w/love @peace