Every year PH Awareness Month becomes busier, with more opportunities to help our families, friends and neighbors learn more about pulmonary hypertension…but where did Awareness Month come from, how did it get started?
Earlier today I called Pat Paton, a PHA co-founder, to hear what she had to say on the subject. Pat told me
…before there was an official Awareness Month or even Awareness Week, there were a few of us who would set up tables in hospitals and shopping centers. PHA – or UPAPH as we were known then – would send brochures. That was all we had. Since we didn’t have much in the way of materials, we worked hard to get interviews with our local newspapers and TV stations.
You have to remember that all of this was very local, with activities taking places in the few communities where we had active members. Even so, when we did these activities, we noticed that the number of callers to our 800 number, the telephone support line, picked up and we heard from people in the area with the disease who had not previously been connected to us. While the numbers were not great, when we had 100 members and we heard from 25 new people, well, we thought that was pretty good!
Today, PHA’s reach for Awareness Month is throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have much more information to offer and plans and suggestions for our members and friends in getting the word out. (Here are 10 in print ...or, if you like voice and slides, take a look here!)The essential element, though, is YOU. Whether spreading PH awareness in person or electronically, our reach is only as large or as small as the number of patients, family members and medical professionals who are willing to invest time and talent in making a difference.
One way (actually 16 ways) to make that difference is to help launch Awareness Month with
It’s a day of worldwide action online. PHA has made participating easy with plenty of ideas and sample messages for you to use. Even without social networking, you can share through email or by posting your story on our website.
So, you’re invited to help kick off Awareness Month on November 1 and continue on expanding awareness of PH. Particularly this year, when our national conversations are so difficult, it’s important to let our fellow citizens know we exist, are working hard for positive change and need their interest and support.Here’s a note that came in while I was writing this blog. It shows the difference one person can make.
Each of us can be that one person.
I'll try to post stories of inspiration and awareness on this blog throughout Awareness Month.