(December 22, 2015) – Don Stevenson, aka the “Pacing Parson,” will celebrate his 80th birthday by beginning a 1,000-mile benefit and awareness walk for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA). A daily distance walker in excellent health, the retired pastor from Auburn, Wash., will make his way across western Washington State with a walker and an oxygen tank to demonstrate the plight of many pulmonary hypertension (PH) patients.

PH is high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs — a debilitating, incurable disease that affects the functioning of the heart and can lead to death from heart failure. Without treatment, the average survival time is 2.8 years. With symptoms that include shortness of breath, fatigue and fainting, PH is often misdiagnosed as asthma or other less-threatening illnesses.

PHA is a national nonprofit that relies on donations to fund its many programs, including the nation’s largest PH patient and caregiver support group network, lifesaving early diagnosis awareness and education programs, specialty care resources, and research to find ways to prevent and cure PH. For 12 consecutive years, PHA has received the highest rating — four stars — for fiscal accountability and transparency from Charity Navigator, placing it in the top one percent of all rated charities.

A former U.S. Marine, Stevenson earned his “Pacing Parson” moniker for completing many charity walks over the years. In September 2015, after nearly four months, he finished a 3,000-mile cross-country walk from Washington State to the Washington, D.C. area, raising nearly $10,000 in donations and pledges for PHA.

Stevenson will start his 80th birthday walk at 10 a.m., Mon., Jan. 4, at the Zion Lutheran Church (1305 17th Street SE) in Auburn, Wash. Along his journey, he is inviting people living with PH to walk with him each Saturday, even for just a few minutes if they can. He also will continue his practice of walking six days a week and taking Sundays off to rest. Stevenson expects to complete the walk in mid-March.

With his birthday charity hike, Stevenson is part of the national PHA Team O2 breathe, made up of individuals across the country who challenge themselves with endurance events to fundraise for the nonprofit. Donors can help Stevenson raise funding for his cause by going to www.O2breathe.org/FightPH16 and clicking on the name, Don Stevenson.

About Pulmonary Hypertension
Headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., with a growing list of chapters across the country, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the country’s leading pulmonary hypertension organization. Its mission is to extend and improve the lives of those affected by PH; its vision is a world without PH, empowered by hope. PHA achieves this by connecting and working together with the entire PH community of patients, families and medical professionals. Among its programs, PHA facilitates more than 245 support groups around the country and delivers continuing education for medical professionals through PHA Online University. For 12 consecutive years, PHA has received the highest rating — four stars — for fiscal accountability and transparency from Charity Navigator, placing it in the top half of one percent of all rated charities. For more information, please go to www.PHAssociation.org, @PHAssociation on Twitter or www.facebook.com/PulmonaryHypertensionAssociation.

For more information about Stevenson’s kick-off event, to become a supporter or to get help registering, please contact Katie Werner at: 855-932-7255 x5 or gro.noitaicossAHP@renreWeitaK.

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PH Bill