Are you a patient wanting to participate?

Yes!

One of the ways Team PHenomenal Hope seeks to build community with those suffering from Pulmonary hypertension is connect our athletes directly with patients. We call this program Let Me Be Your Lungs, or #LetMeBeYourLungs.

Individuals with Pulmonary Hypertension have difficulty carrying out basic tasks that most of us take for granted – walking up stairs, carrying a laundry basket, or shopping for groceries.

As Julia describes:

PH and the breathlessness it causes robbed me of my ability to participate in athletics, as some days even walking to the mailbox is more than my body can handle.

Everyday routines can make PH patients feel out of breath.

Endurance athletes, on the other hand, have incredible lung capacity. They can run a marathon, swim three miles, or cycle a century.

We match our athletes up with volunteer patient participants. Athletes race for their match. Patients rally to support their athlete by providing encouragement or helping them with fundraising. Together, they are a duo working to raise awareness of this critical illness and the need for continuously improved treatments and a cure.

We prefer to make matches within our athlete’s local community or region because we do encourage athletes to meet with their match in person or even at a PH group event. Sometimes, such relationships become life changing – for the patient and the athlete.

Read the impact #LetMeBeYourLungs program has had on Jan and Deanna, two 2016 patient matches.

Jan shares:

The athletes we were paired with took the time to listen to our stories, and get a true feel for what it is like living day to day as a patient by running in our stead at the Marathon. They got the ‘out of breath’ portion, they got the racing hearts, and most importantly, they got to be our lungs in a race for our lives.

And Deana says:

By learning just a bit about [my athlete partner’s] training, it gave me the motivation I needed to continue with my patient exercise program and set some goals for myself. I decided that if he was willing to train and race for me and be ‘my lungs’, then I needed to continue to help myself by maintaining my exercise as well.

When our athletes race, they race for their patient matches. Likewise, our patient partners encourage and support their athletes. They might do this by showing up to cheer in person, or rally on social media, or join as a fundraising partner.

When a formal match is made, we create an online and print collector’s card that provides information about both the athlete and the patient. The patient partners also share their PH stories in our Stories of PH blog – this helps others know more about our fight against PH and build community.

Pairs are encourage to share their PH Story through social media, and in their fundraising emails, and to hand out their collectors cards as a way to initiate conversations about what Pulmonary Hypertension is and why more medical research into treatments or a cure is needed, and the important role Team PHenomenal Hope plays.

We don’t always have contact with a patient in every city, but believe me, when we do, they are usually excited to have someone race on their behalf. It means a lot to them!

This matching process can be transformative. As Amanda, a #LetMeBeYourLungs athlete says:

When things get really tough for us, we know there’s someone out there rooting for us and waiting for us to cross the finish line. … we know we have the ability to get up everyday and run and make our hearts beat that fast, where a lot of these patients don’t have a choice that their heart is beating that fast when they do the things they have to do every day.

How to join

Patients can indicate interest in participating in the #LetMeBeYourLungs program – sign up online!

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