30 Days of PH: My Mom Inspired Me to Be Brave and Smile

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by BNS Staff |

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Photo courtesy of Sally Hoffman

Day 2 of 30

This is Sally Hoffman’s story:

I dedicate this to my mother who has always been a great inspiration to me.

When I was 6 years old, I had a third-degree burn on my right leg. I remember waking up in the hospital and my mom hugging me, saying “You’re a lucky girl. It could’ve been both legs.”

Growing up, I remember her telling me to smile, and always encouraging me by saying that tomorrow will be a brighter day.

When I was 12, my mom got sick. Her disease wasn’t curable, and she was given maybe three years to live, if she was lucky. She told me to be brave and smile.

Mom was one of the first people to have chemotherapy. It was awful but she let the doctors try it all on her. She was a pioneer! Again, she told me not to be scared and to smile.

One day a friend whose father had died of the same disease said she felt sorry for me. I smiled at her and said “No, I am lucky. My mom is still alive.” She lived for 22 more years and helped to pioneer the cure for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Today, her story is in oncology medical textbooks (without her name, of course).

I am grateful that my mother taught me to be resilient and to smile.

When I was 77, I developed pulmonary arterial hypertension. I smiled and said, “Thanks, Mom! Because of you, I believe I can do this!” I am going to be 80 soon, and it appears my medications have stopped my progression. Every day, I smile and am grateful that I feel so lucky.

I may not be around to see a cure for this disease, but I’ll smile while I’m along for the ride, just as my mom would want me to. I will be brave and smile.

Pulmonary Hypertension News’ 30 Days of PH campaign is publishing one story per day from someone who has been affected by the disease for PH Awareness Month in November. Read the full series for more stories like this, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtag #30DaysofPH.