30 Days to Be Thankful and Aware

30 Days to Be Thankful and Aware
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November is a special month for many. It is a time to gather with friends and family, and share a meal, memories, current events, and hope for the future. Now is the season for reflecting on our lives and being mindful of what we have to be thankful for. Feeling grateful might also inspire us to make an extra effort to help those in need by providing compassion and understanding.

For fellow Americans, this probably sounds like Thanksgiving, but November also is Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month. Now more than ever, the two share a lot in common.

Due to pandemic concerns, family and PHamily will be less likely to gather in great numbers for events. Instead, we are finding creative ways to connect by using what is safely available, such as social media, video calls, chat rooms, and other such platforms.

We might not have as many at our tables to enjoy special meals, but the PH community can still participate in the traditions of November’s past by sharing food for thought. Get online and teach others about pulmonary hypertension. Explain why PH is a medical zebra. Discuss how PH is diagnosed and what treatments are available.

Whether you are a patient or caregiver, provide PH facts, but also share your personal PH story. Spread compassion and understanding through your own experiences. Tell others what life was like before diagnosis, how you felt when reality hit, and how you are handling PH now.

Be honest about your struggles, but don’t leave out the blessings. Even if you are living with PH, you can still find things to be thankful for, and others need to know that. Be loud and proud of your accomplishments, whether big or small. Acknowledge how amazing every celebrated birthday feels. Share your dreams and goals, and how you are working toward them. Focus on your hobbies, faith, and whatever else inspires you to keep PHighting every day.

Finally, help those of us in need by encouraging people to donate to PH advocacy, research, empowerment, and care. Some good options for donations are the Pulmonary Hypertension Association or the Robyn J. Barst Pediatric Research and Mentoring Fund.

As we move forward into the season of giving, when many this year will be shopping online, tell family and friends about AmazonSmile, which offers an easy way to raise funds for PH. With every eligible purchase, AmazonSmile donates 0.5% to the charity of your choice.

In celebration of PH Awareness month, 30 members of the PH community are participating in “30 Days of PH.” As head of this special project, I asked these patients from all generations, along with caregivers and medical professionals, to reflect on their PH experiences and share their stories. They each dug deep and contributed their thoughts about a variety of PH experiences and topics.

If you haven’t already, I recommend reading the individual stories that began on Nov. 1, and encourage you to continue checking in every day. “30 Days of PH” is available to read and share at our Pulmonary Hypertension News website, forums, and Instagram and Facebook pages.

Last year, fellow PH columnist and moderator Jen Cueva headed “30 Days of PH” and received a wonderful response from participants. They are memories worth revisiting, and I hope you do.

There is a quote by an unknown author that I think epitomizes what the PH community is to each other: “Family: an anchor during rough waters.”

I personally want to thank my PHamily for the many times you have helped to keep me anchored and for trusting me to do the same for you. May you have a productive Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month!

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Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.

Colleen Steele was born and raised in New Jersey and received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Immaculata University in 1994. Currently, she lives in Washington state with her husband and two sons. Her oldest child was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension when he was 8. At the age of 14, he received a heart and double-lung transplant. He has experienced many bumps in the road but for the most part, he is doing well and living life to the fullest. Colleen’s love for writing, experience advocating for her son, and determination to spread PH awareness inspired her to become a columnist and forums moderator for Pulmonary Hypertension News in 2019. In her, “Life As A Caregiver” column, Colleen is open and honest about caring for her son, his experiences living with PH, and life post-transplant. It is her ambition to educate and inspire others facing similar challenges that her family has battled and survived.

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Colleen Steele was born and raised in New Jersey and received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Immaculata University in 1994. Currently, she lives in Washington state with her husband and two sons. Her oldest child was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension when he was 8. At the age of 14, he received a heart and double-lung transplant. He has experienced many bumps in the road but for the most part, he is doing well and living life to the fullest. Colleen’s love for writing, experience advocating for her son, and determination to spread PH awareness inspired her to become a columnist and forums moderator for Pulmonary Hypertension News in 2019. In her, “Life As A Caregiver” column, Colleen is open and honest about caring for her son, his experiences living with PH, and life post-transplant. It is her ambition to educate and inspire others facing similar challenges that her family has battled and survived.

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