Dear PH Community,
As we pause to celebrate our nation’s birthday tomorrow, I am reminded of and grateful for the role that volunteers, driven by a desire to give back and to help others, play in improving our communities. Twenty-five percent of Americans volunteer every year in some capacity, giving of their time, expertise, funds and passion. Nowhere is this volunteer spirit more evident than in our pulmonary hypertension (PH) community and the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA).
Our volunteers include patients, families and caregivers who share their knowledge, experience and support with others, health care professionals who work tirelessly to provide the best care possible for their patients and researchers and scientists who are looking for a better understanding of the disease in order to help find new and improved treatments for individuals with PH and, eventually, even a cure.
One place you’ll find all these volunteers working closely together is on the PHA Board of Trustees. Our PHA Board members bring diverse backgrounds and experience, innovative ideas and a passion for PHA’s mission to extend and improve the lives of those affected by PH. Our Board members also reflect the PH community that they serve: each member is an unpaid volunteer who either has PH, has a family member with PH, or is a health care professional who specializes in treating or researching PH. Together they participate actively in setting PHA’s strategic course through a rapidly changing health care environment, championing the work we do toward our mission, strengthening our programs and services and ensuring we have the financial resources necessary to succeed. What brings this talented, committed and diverse group of people together is a personal connection to the disease we seek to cure and a desire to give back by helping others on their journeys.
It’s an honor to welcome four new members to the PHA Board of Trustees, who will serve from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2022:
Nicole M. Creech
Nicole Creech is a support group leader from Lexington, Kentucky, who was diagnosed with PH due to sickle cell anemia in 2008. Nicole assists with the support group leader mentorship program, takes part in regional support group leader trainings, serves on the PHA Registry Steering Committee and is a member of PHA’s Legacy of Hope Society. She has participated on several panels for patient-led sessions at PHA’s past International Conference and Scientific Sessions and is a frequent writer and speaker about PH.
A former commercial banker and current manufacturing executive from Windermere, Florida, Tony Lahnston returns to the PHA Board of Trustees, where he previously served as a Board member and Treasurer. He also participated on numerous PHA committees, including Governance, Finance and Audit, and Development and Investment. Tony was introduced to PHA after his niece Marchalle Corbett passed away from complications related to pulmonary veno-occlusive disease (PVOD), a rare form of PH.
Monica Penaranda is from Hacienda Heights, California, and was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension at age 16 due to an atrial septal defect (ASD), a congenital defect in the upper chamber of her heart. In the 25 years since then, Monica has participated in many clinical trials, including a trial for the first implantable pump to treat PH. She is a support group leader for the Greater Los Angeles Support Group, helped organize All Hearts on Deck PHor a Cure and is active in advocacy events.
Matt Wall is the Raleigh-Durham Special Services Group (SSG) leader for DPR Construction, where he leads nearly $70 million in interior commercial construction projects. Matt lives in Burlington, North Carolina, with his wife, Jayna, and two sons, Jackson and Jayden. At 14 months old, Jackson was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. As a family, the Walls organize and participate in fundraising and awareness-raising activities, including an annual golf tournament, Driving “Fore” a Cure for PH. They have raised over $235,000 for pediatric pulmonary hypertension research.
You can read more about each of our Board of Trustees members on the PHA website.
As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, I want to give a heartfelt thank you to all of our volunteers: Board of Trustees members, council and committee members, support group leaders, mentors and trainers, advocates, and fundraisers. Your tireless contributions and efforts make it possible to envision a world without PH.
Please share your thoughts and ideas at BradWongPHA@PHAssociation.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
Our best wishes to you on this 4th of July holiday,
Brad A. Wong
PHA President & CEO