Georgia Thomas’ PH Story

February 28,2018

Georgia was born 3/31/04, as a big and seemingly healthy baby to very excited first time parents Genie Priddy and Jim Thomas. But right after birth, she started having trouble breathing and was diagnosed a few hours later with transposition of the great arteries. This is where the aorta and pulmonary artery are reversed and form two parallel circuits. The only mixing of blood was through some openings in the heart they usually close soon after birth.

She was helicoptered the next day and received her arterial switch operation 36 hours after birth by Dr. Thomas Spray. She did well and was discharged to nervous parents a few days later. Georgia grew and acted like a regular kid, but when her little twin sisters started running faster and farther than Georgia, and she seemed to lack stamina, her parents started looking for a possible problem.

Despite seeing Georgia’s regular cardiologist yearly, and going to other cardiologists and pulmonologists for second opinions, Georgia was not diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension until she was 10 years old and in the fifth grade, when she had her first abnormal echo. At that time, her pulmonary hypertension was quite advanced.

Georgia began treatment and was soon on triple drug therapy with Dr. Brian Hanna. Georgia has now been on subcutaneous Remodulin for more than two years. She has adjusted to it pretty well.

Georgia is now 13 years old and in the 8th grade. PH has not stopped her from continuing to travel; she has visited Japan, Norway, France, and Italy. PH has also not slowed down her passion for gymnastics, love of snowboarding, and fun at sleep away summer camp. She now rides an electric bike to her babysitting job. She enjoys playing flute in school band and a local orchestra.

Georgia’s family has been active with PH fundraising walks and participating in the local PH pediatric support groups for bowling, Mom’s dinner out, and PHun days at the National Harbor. Georgia and her mom joined other PH families to lobby on Capital Hill for more PH dedicated research.

Last spring, Georgia and her mom traveled to Houston to see a friends from the last PH conference in Texas. We enjoyed the CrawPhish event and seeing their good PHriend, Team PHenomenal Hope board member and athlete, Carl Hicks.

Georgia and her family are looking forward to attending the next PH conference this summer in Orlando, and pairing with Carl Hicks for Team PHenomenal Hope’s #LetMeBeYourLungs program.

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