3,000 Miles Later…The RAAMftermath
Put it in the books — part one of the Team PHenomenal Hope mission was successfully completed when UPMC pulmonologist Dr. Patty George and her teammates Anne-Marie, Stacie, and Ryanne crossed the finish line in Annapolis, MD, on Saturday, June 21 – only 7 days, 7 hours, and 15 minutes after they began the Race Across America in Oceanside, CA.
As a member of the 13-person crew that was supporting these fearless women across the country, I will admit that my eyes were laser-focused on that singular objective the second my feet hit California soil. The rest of it —the awareness, the research, the community —that would have to wait.
What surprised me most throughout the journey was how the other part of our mission continued to shine through.
Despite the fact that we as crew members were in a constant state of perpetual motion, driving, cooking, navigating, caring for racers, or trying to catch a few precious moments of sleep, one could not ignore the impact of our cause on those we passed on the road. I lost count of how many times I overheard a fellow crew member sharing our story and our mission with friendly Walmart shoppers or folks gassing up where our RV happened to be parked, or the number of times motorists would pull over to chat with us as we awaited our next racer transition. We talked about the race, sure, but mostly we talked about pulmonary hypertension and the funds we were raising for a cure. It became clear to me very early on that the heart of Team PHenomenal Hope, the underlying reason for this enormous effort, could not be put on hold.
The women of Team PH battled ferocious desert heat, 50+ mph winds across the flatlands, torrential rains, sleep deprivation, cramped quarters, tired and aching bodies, and more than a week away from family, jobs, and the comforts of home. But the sacrifices made by the racers and their dedicated crew were completely and totally justified when the team crossed that long-awaited finish line into the waiting arms of family, friends, and countless numbers of PHA community members in Maryland, at Conference, and watching from home.
Yet here we are, 3,000 miles later, and we still do not have a cure for pulmonary hypertension. We did it. We crossed the finish line. And we spread the story of hope to communities around the US. Now it is time to really finish the job. Team PHenomenal Hope is not giving up on its mission to find a cure for this debilitating and deadly disease and we invite you to join in the next stage in our grand adventure.
Please help us cross a much more important finish line by making a donation to Team PHenomenal Hope today. Click here to donate. Your entire gift will fund medical research that aims to eradicate this life-threatening disease and will support patient services that improves the lives of patients through education, advocacy, and support.
Team PH would not be where it is today without supporters like you. We are eternally grateful.
Please share this story with your friends and family, just as Team PH shared it, inch-by-inch, mile-by-mile, across the expanse of our nation, and into the hearts of all who love an adventure.