PHA Press Release – June 6, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contact: Renée W. Hockaday
Pulmonary Hypertension Association Supports Team PHenomenal Hope
as it Prepares to Race Across America and Bring Awareness to Rare Lung Disease
Silver Spring, Md. (June 4, 2014) – Team PHenomenal Hope, a Pittsburgh, Pa.-based cycling team consisting of a lung-transplant physician and three other women, is competing in the high-endurance cycling event, Race Across America (RAAM), to raise awareness of pulmonary hypertension (PH) – a rare, debilitating disease of the lungs that affects the functioning of the heart and can lead to heart failure. Without treatment, mean survivability is only 2.8 years. The race begins June 14, 2014, in Oceanside, Calif., and will end in Annapolis, Md.
Team PHenomenal Hope includes a PH-treating physician based out of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and three other endurance athletes who have been training for over two years to make the cross country trek. The RAAM course will put the team through an intense physical challenge, 24 hours a day, across 9 days, 3,000 miles and 170,000 vertical feet of elevation. This physical challenge mirrors the life experience of PH patients and families as they cope with the impact of PH in their lives.
The community of patients, caregivers and medical professionals at the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) has rallied around this team, holding events, sponsoring miles on the race course and raising funds and awareness in their own communities. It’s called the Race of Our Lives campaign and allows everyone touched by PH to be part of this coast-to-coast trek symbolic of the PH journey.
“Dr. Patty George and her team have gone above and beyond to train for this race and bring awareness to pulmonary hypertension,” said PHA President and CEO, Rino Aldrighetti. “This race really is an example of the journey a PH patient takes, from the onset of symptoms to diagnosis and then treatment. It is a tremendous experience of ups and downs and extremely difficult situations for the entire family. We are hoping to one day cross the finish line to a cure.”
In the past year alone, PHA and Team PHenomenal Hope have held a national day of exercise for patients called the PHenomenal Mile, which included 77 groups in 30 states and Puerto Rico; a 5K walk-run for charity; and numerous steps designed to bring the national PH community together. Through PHA, PH patients, families and supporters have sponsored almost every one of the 3,000 miles that Team PHenomenal Hope will cross in RAAM.
The race kicks off on June 14 at the Oceanside Pier in Oceanside, Calif., and has several stops along the race course. Team PHenomenal Hope includes: its captain and founder, Dr. Patty George; Stacie Truszkowski, who works in the same UPMC pulmonology department with Dr. George; Anne-Marie Alderson, an engineering manager and triathlete; and Ryanne Palmero, a scientist/spectroscopist and mountain biker. The team supporting the racers includes two minivan follow vehicles, a recreational vehicle and 13 crew members – more than half from UPMC.
Learn more about Team PHenomenal Hope and follow them on their race here. For b-roll on Team PHenomenal Hope or to reach the team along the course, contact Chuck Finder, UPMC Media Relations, at 412-996-5852 or FinderCE@upmc.edu. Donate to Team PHenomenal Hope and Race of Our Lives from your mobile phone: text TeamPH to 56512. Data charges may apply.
About the Pulmonary Hypertension Association
Headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the country’s leading pulmonary hypertension organization. Its mission is to find ways to prevent and cure pulmonary hypertension and provide hope for the community through support, education, research, advocacy and awareness. PHA does this by connecting and working together with the entire PH community of patients, families and medical professionals. PHA facilitates more than 245 support groups around the country and delivers continuing education for medical professionals.
PHA has developed a series of public service announcements focused on PH research and early diagnosis. These PSAs were sent out to radio and television stations across the country. To learn more about the PSA campaign or to find a PH patient or doctor in your area, contact Renée Hockaday at ReneeH@PHAssociation.org or 240-485-0774. To learn more about pulmonary hypertension and PHA visit www.PHAssociation.org.
About the Race Across America (RAAM)
The Race Across America, known as the “world’s toughest bicycle race,” will set more than 200 competitors on a 3,000-mile route stretching from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md. Athletes race continuously day and night, on their own power or share the challenge with a team, and a crew of 8 – 15 people following in support vehicles with food and supplies for the race. These courageous adventurers brave heat, wind, thunderstorms, altitude, the dark of night, fatigue and sleep
deprivation, cross several major mountain ranges and raise more than one million dollars for charity. For
more information and race updates visit www.raceacrossamerica.org.