Sofia Arévalo: What #LetMeBeYourLungs Means to Me
I am Sofia Arévalo, Pulmonary Hypertension patient since 2013. Before I was diagnosed I was a very active person. I loved to dance and play volleyball, and I always was surrounded by athletes in my family.
In México I am the President of a PH patient association, ARTERIA FUNDACIÓN, and we help patients and families affected by PH. We empower them by providing a vision of their new lives, and show them how to improve the quality of their lives. We are always starting new projects to bring awareness of PH to our communities, because in Mexico is still a very rare disease. Some doctors don’t even know how to treat it.
In 2014 at the PHA Conference in Indianapolis, I saw for the first time Patricia George talking and presenting about Team PHenomenal Hope. I was so excited about all the goals they were accomplishing, but at that time Arteria Fundacion was a very small association, and I never thought we could manage a huge project like Team PHenomenal Hope in Mexico.
Then in 2016, Paula Menezes, President of ABRAF (PH association in Brazil), athlete of Team PHenomenal Hope Brazil, and my friend, showed us that they started the project in Brazil. Then, my sister Maricela (also my caregiver) and I had the incredible idea to start Team PH in our country, México.
In November 2016 we start planning, always working hand in hand with global Team PH (US, Brazil, and Germany), and with their assistance we started Team PHenomenal Hope México. Our PH athletes are members of my family, Maricela (sister), Marilu (cousin), Luis Antonio (cousin), Fernando (cousin) and Luis (cousin). All of them know my disease perfectly well, and they understand the difficulties I go through every day.
Before we actually started Team PH Mexico, three of our team members raced in a 70.3 IRONMAN in 2014, and they devoted their efforts to me. So, we can say we have been part of Team PH since then. They already knew a few PH patients personally since I founded Arteria Fundacion, and I shared with them their stories. Our athletes were honored to put all of their effort and their lungs to support these patients.
The phrase “Let Me Be Your Lungs” to me represents all the love, effort, and courage that Team Phenomenal Hope athletes put in every single race. It also represents freedom for me and other PH patients, because when we watch Team PH in action, we feel like we are running with the team and that our struggles are understood. Team PHenomenal Hope Mexico represents all PH patients- every race is dedicated to a single patient.
We are making a huge difference in our country because now more people know the cause, they understand the disease, and want to join our team!