30 Days of PH: A Pediatric PHighter And Fundraising “Fore” A Cure

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by Colleen Steele |

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Day 18 of 30 Days of PH⁣
Topic: A Pediatric PHighter And Fundraising “Fore” A Cure

This is Jayna’s story @jaynaw67  

On August 21, 2012, our world was forever changed when our 14-month-old son, Jackson, was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension. A few weeks earlier, a pediatrician had heard a heart murmur and referred us for an echo. Jackson’s echo showed pressures of 145 mm Hg and we were told that our baby boy would possibly need a lung transplant. Two days later, a heart catheterization confirmed the diagnosis, and we were then told that he would probably need a heart and lung transplant. We were devastated, but we made the decision to PHight. We weren’t just going to give up on our baby boy.

Jackson was started on two different oral medications to try to dilate the arteries in his lungs. We saw improvements in his heart function, but his pressure in his heart remained very high. In January 2013, after getting a 2nd opinion from a pediatric PH specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital, we decided to put Jackson on the strongest medication available for PH, Remodulin. Our new normal included multiple medications a day (even overnight), a toddler being attached to a pump 24/7, pump changes, monthly echoes, and insurance fights. Once we had somewhat adjusted to our new normal, we set our sights on PHighting to help find a cure.

In October 2013, we hosted our first annual Driving “Fore” a Cure for PH golf tournament. Since 2013, we have hosted 7 tournaments and raised over $250,000 for research. In 2019, Jason Boehme, M.D., was awarded the PHA Robyn J. Barst, M.D. Pediatric PH Research & Mentoring Grant in honor of Jackson, to study metabolic abnormalities in congenital heart disease and how it relates to PAH. Other researchers supported by PHA are looking for new methods for early detection, new treatments, and ultimately a cure.

Jackson is now 9 years old and we thank God that he is considered stable today. Despite all that he has been through, Jackson is a sweet, fun-loving, inspirational little boy. He calls himself the PH Warrior, and he certainly has a warrior’s heart. He inspires us every day to keep PHighting.

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