Hello. Our Name is: Team PHenomenal Hope
Sometimes life takes some very unexpected turns. I was posed with a question a few months ago at my (bicyclist) friend’s bachelorette party.
“Would you ever consider doing Race Across America (RAAM)?”
Who gets asked that question? Who gets the choice, the opportunity?
My answer, of course, was an overwhelming, oh-my-gosh-you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me, YES!
The people who asked me–an obvious group of overachievers:
Team Captain, Dr. Patricia (Patty, “Peaches”) George
Stacie “The Bulldog” Truszkowski
Anne-Marie “Can’t-get-enough-sports-in-at-once-so-I’m-a-triathlete” Alderson
Patty is a pulmonologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Ms. Bulldog works for like some total celebrity cardiologist, Hunter Champion (fitting last name). Racing for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) was an obvious fit for our team charity.
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is high blood pressure in the arteries in the lungs that can lead to heart failure. Symptoms include: shortness of breath, dizziness and fatigue. The severity of symptoms usually correlates to the progression of the disease.
PH is non-discriminatory; it affects people of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds. I’ve had the immense privilege of meeting some of these incredible warriors at the International Pulmonary Hypertension Conference. Learning about the disease and meeting patients has been a huge eye-opener to all of the small things I take for granted–like riding my bike or even just walking from my car to the office. So, in the end, the 3,000 mile race that our small team of ladies is planning on riding in 2014 is nothing compared to the journey of these patients.
One thing that is really striking about this conference, this conglomeration of patients, caregivers and clinicians, is that it’s so personal. There are hardcore science sessions for scientists like Patty contrasted by panels led by the patients themselves, sharing stories, offering help and hope to the newly diagnosed. I’m honored to be a part of this community, this family.
Team PHenomenal Hope has already been blessed with the backing of a title sponsor, UPMC, as well as support from Big Bang Bicycles, Primal Wear, Cycling Fusion/Global Ride, Ink Division, and Garbella. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us all.