Team PHenomenal Hope – RAAM 2014

Team PHenomenal Hope RAAM 2014

Meet Team PHenomenal Hope (Photo courtesy of UPMC)

Team PHenomenal Hope started as a group of women who wanted to Race Across America

In 2010, two friends on Steel City Endurance, a Pittsburgh bike racing team, started kicking around the idea of racing their bikes across America. It began at the Biennial Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) International Conference, many in the audience were inspired by the story of three medical professionals who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness. It was at that moment, when Patricia George was sitting in that audience, that the dream of racing in the Race Across America (RAAM) started to crystallize.

Dr. Patricia George, physician and researcher in the Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Center and lung transplant program at University Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), and Stacie Truszkowski, Steel City teammate and colleague in the Pulmonary Division at UPMC, began discussing ways to turn the dream into a reality. Pittsburgh, home of two-time solo men’s winner Danny Chew, has a proud history with RAAM. However, to this date no team from Pittsburgh had ever raced RAAM. Knowing this, the teammates recruited two more women, SCE teammate Anne-Marie Alderson, super talented IronMan athlete and Ryanne Palermo, endurance mountain biker, whose energy on the bike is only surpassed by her tremendous spirit, to form Pittsburgh’s first 4-woman RAAM team.

While the idea of racing across the United States in and of itself is exciting, the team became completely engaged in its mission to race for a greater purpose – the PHA. After meeting with PHA President Rino Aldrighetti and his team, Team PHenomenal Hope, racing for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, officially was born.

Momentum builds as we dedicate our training to improving patients’ lives

Soon after partnering with the PHA, as our team expanded to include supporters and crew members from within our clinic and cycling community, Team PHenomenal Hope was excited to partner with our home institution, UPMC, in our race to a cure. As we train for RAAM, raising awareness about pulmonary hypertension (PH) and funding to help find a cure for the disease, we will be working closely with UPMC, the PHA community, and our sponsors and supporters every pedal stroke of the way.

Riding to raise awareness for pulmonary hypertension

RAAM provides a tremendous platform to raise awareness, and we plan to fully utilize this race and training period to educate our communities about PH and the need to find a cure. Through traditional and social media, we will reach far and wide to expand our “team” in this effort. It is our goal that by the time we cross the finish line in Annapolis, “every person in Pittsburgh [and beyond] knows about PH.” Team PHenomenal Hope will serve as one spotlight for the PHA to reach out to people in the region and beyond, healthcare providers and non-healthcare providers alike.

Racing to a cure for pulmonary hypertension

In addition to raising awareness, we intend to work hard towards supporting the search for a cure. From now until after RAAM 2014, we plan to raise funds that will go towards establishing sustainable grants. At the end of 2014, all proceeds will be donated to the PHA to fund Team PHenomenal Hope grants. In this way, all money raised in our effort will go toward our mission.

Working together we can accomplish extraordinary things!

In June 2012, the PHA International Conference marked our official launch, and we are already hard at work in foundation building and fundraising for this tremendous effort ahead. Team PHenomenal Hope is excited to dedicate the next 2 years of training and racing to our PHA community. While a huge journey lies ahead, we embrace it in preparation for the hardest race of our lives (both on and off the bike), because in the words of Ryanne Palermo, racer, “A day without challenge is a day with victories unclaimed.”