PHA Fundraising Campaign Asks Canadians to ‘Walk in the Shoes’ of PH Patients

Marta Figueiredo, PhD avatar

by Marta Figueiredo, PhD |

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The Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada has launched its Life in Purple Challenge campaign to mark November, Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month.

PH is a rare, progressive and life-threatening disease caused by an increase of blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries and veins, which become narrowed and blocked. Common PH symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, dry cough, dizziness, fainting and loss of energy.

Since people diagnosed with PH may not appear ill, the disease is often called an “invisible chronic illness.” That makes it difficult for others to relate to the disease and to understand what daily living is like for a PH patient.

A PHA Canada press release invites PH patients and caregivers to share stories, photos and videos representing the daily impact of PH through the Life in Purple Challenge campaign website and on social media. Periwinkle purple is the official color of PH awareness.

Vancouver-based PHA Canada, established in 2008, is also challenging people to take one or more Life in Purple Challenges, for a set amount of time. This includes doing new chores, trading the elevator for the stairs or donating time. There are also kid-friendly versions of the challenges, so that the whole family can be involved.

The campaign is also an opportunity for supporters to raise funds. They can do this by starting a personal fundraising page, sponsoring a participant or donating directly to the Life in Purple Challenge.

McKesson Canada has announced that if the PHA Canada campaign can raise at least $3,000 by Dec. 31, it would match that donation.

PH affects as many as 10,000 Canadians, according to a 2014 survey released by PHA Canada. According to that poll, 70 percent of patients surveyed and 61 percent of caregivers experience social isolation and relationship issues, which they attribute to the “invisibility” of the disease.

The PHA Canada Patient and Caregiver Survey also revealed that 85 percent of patients surveyed experience mild to severe symptoms or limitations with everyday activities such as walking and climbing stairs. In addition, more than 40 percent of patients surveyed report frequently suffering from fatigue, low energy and breathlessness, while another 37 percent suffer from sleep disorders.

To join the Life in Purple Challenge campaign, click here. You can also help raise awareness by sharing a story, photo or video on social media using the hashtag #LifeinPurpleChallenge.