By Darby Hetrick

I am 20 years old and I have Pulmonary Hypertension. I have had PH since I was two years old. Yes, there were some hard times, but I never let it stop me from achieving my goals and dreams. Even if it is an everyday ordinary thing I don’t let PH hold me back. I see my illness as is a couple of additional things to check off my daily to-do list.

When I was in high school I played on the tennis team because I really liked to play tennis. I was able to keep up just fine, and I made so many friends while playing. Our team also broke some school records the year I played on the team. Also during my senior year, I went on a ten day tour of Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. I had such an amazing time! We walked though a huge outdoor flea market in Austria, which was really crowded, but the food was incredible. After that, we went to Vienna and toured the streets and then to Schönbrun palace, which was really pretty. Then we went to Lucerne, Switzerland and went to the top of Mt. Pilatus — which is 6289 ft tall. When riding in the cable car we actually passed through the clouds to get to the building on top of the mountain. After that we went to Munich, Germany where we saw the Dachau internment camp. This was really sad, but a good experience to have. We also shopped around Marienplatz where there are are so many shops. Also in Marienplatz, there is a church where the devil is said to have left his footprint while stomping his foot. Supposedly, when you stand where the footprint is, all the windows go black. We saw the footprint and stood there to see if the story was true, and the pillars did block the windows from that vantage point. I also got lost in Marienplatz with my group of friends. Since I was the one who knew the most German, they made me ask for directions. But the first person I asked didn’t speak German and was just as lost as we were, so we had to ask someone else. After that we saw Neuschwanstein castle, which is the castle used as inspiration for the castle in Cinderella. It was really cold that day and we had to walk up a mountain, but it was totally worth all the time and effort because the view was stunning. After that we went to Heidelberg, Germany. It was so pretty and the town was absolutely beautiful. We explored the city and I got a really yummy crepe from a street vendor. On our way to the airport we stopped in Strasbourg, France for lunch and I got ice cream that was shaped like a rose. It looked complicated to do. After we visited the amazing Rhine Falls  we hopped on a plane back to the United States.

Now I am two years out of high school and in my third semester at community college. After this semester, I am transferring in order to get my degree in communications and public relations. My life is always kind of hectic because I am a full time student and work as a waitress on the weekends, but I have been having a lot of fun. I am always reaching towards my dreams and I won’t let anything hold me back.

This post is part of PHA’s The Right Heart blog series. Find out how you can share your story. Click here.