Monday, November 22, 2010


This year, as every year for the past decade, I am thankful for so many of the amazing people - the true heroes of life - that I get to meet in my work at PHA.

Too often, the great meaning and pleasure of this work carries a bittersweet side to it.  And that is no different this year.

So, this Thanksgiving season, Im writing about two good friends, recently lost. They never met each other but there were a lot of similarities in who they were...
That's Arlene Gabbert in the picture on the left. I rememember the moment it was taken. It was in August, 2007, at a Walk for PH in Minneapolis. The day was windy and wet and people were slow to leave the park shelter for the walk. Then Arlene, a longtime PH survivor, rolled her wheelchair out and led 200 people into the rain and around the loop. It was a brightness of spirit that lit a gray day. I will never forget it.

I saw Arlene a couple of times after that and was saddened to learn earlier this month that she was in hospice. A few days later, we got the word of her passing. We'll miss you, Arlene.

Around the same time, we also learned that Anabel Sivira had passed.

When she notified her fellow staff members of Anabel's passing, Christine Dickler wrote:
Anabel, a PH patient, was the former president of the Venezuelan PH association, FUNDAVHIP, and had recently moved to Costa Rica, where she hoped to establish a new group in a region with very little support. She hoped to apply for a Lantos Grant this year to support that work. Anabel was a positive, indefatigable energy in the community and her life is an incredible reminder of why our work is so important.

This summer, when we wrote about beginning her work in Costa Rica, Anabell sent this note. I think it speaks to making connections, even if they seem small. I hope that it encourages you…
“Friend, you don’t know the peace that is knowing that I have a friend like you and with [such an] Association of patients. This gives me much confidence and motivates me to continue with my foundation. [You all] are my support. Thank you very much.”
I wish I had a picture of Anabel to include but, for now, this page from the Association she led will have to stand as her tribute.

As we give thanks for the advances we are making, we remember all those who make them possible.


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