My #LetMeBeYourLungs Experience: Anthony Piatek
Every year since 2010, I train for a marathon in honor and memory of my mother, Mary Jo Piatek, who passed away from Pulmonary Hypertension in July 2013. Since her death it’s been my mission to stay active in the PH community in attempt to find a cure, spread awareness, and show support to patients. Running marathons has been my way to accomplish this.
This year, I did things a little differently. I joined Team PHenomenal Hope and signed up for the Grand Rapids Marathon in October. I was then asked to consider being a part of Team PH’s #LetMeBeYour Lungs program, which matches a PH patient with an athlete in their region. I agreed and was matched with PH patient Deborah Webster.
We met for dinner in the week leading up to the race. It was inspiring to meet Deborah and understand the struggles of PH that she fights every day. She gave me a Superman hoodie, which I proudly wore before the marathon. I was proud to be racing in support of her.
On race day, with “MOM’ written on both my arms with a sharpie and “DEB” written on my leg, I had to go out and represent. It rained for much of the race, and a giant puddle caused me to nearly break my ankle. Toward the end, I had to walk to relieve some of the pain. During that walk time I was miserable.
That’s when another runner who saw me struggling said to me, “Hey, go get it!” So I started running again to go get IT. What was “IT”? It was that honor and pride of finishing a marathon for a cause that’s bigger than myself. It was for all those that have died due to PH and for those that have been affected by it, both patients AND caregivers. It was for the support groups across the countries and the doctors and researchers doing their best to find a cure.
Although the weather was unpleasant and I experienced an injury as a result, I finished my 9th marathon in around 3:45, and I’m already brainstorming what marathon to run next year for Team PH.
I’m grateful for the support of my friends and family in helping me raise over $1,500 so far for Team PHenomenal Hope. Raising funds to find a cure and spread awareness goes a long way and those who have contributed are part of the movement with me. I’m proud to celebrate another year of surpassing my fundraising goals.
It’s an honor to be part of Team PHenomenal Hope and to have ran this race for Deborah Webster as I continue to run in memory of Mary Jo Sarlo Piatek and carry on her battle against PH.