Tara Suplicki decided to start volunteering when she learned she had pulmonary hypertension (PH). Today, she leads the Morristown, New Jersey, Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) support group with Patrick Mellin.

Tara describes how she got involved: “I was in the hospital with a stroke and this illness. My mother said, ‘You can either go home to wither and die, or go home to find a new start.’ ”

Her new start began with finding the Morristown Support Group. The members helped her through dark days in the beginning. When the support group leader was ready to retire, Tara said she would take over the group.

“It was the best choice I ever made. I have chaired several walks, which enriched my life so much.”

She has led groups as large as 30 to a “wonderful” one-on-one meet-up. “Even meeting with one member is a great meeting.” Since Patrick became her co-leader two years ago, Tara says he keeps her balanced, “which is not an easy job.”

She loves to volunteer because she wants to be on the front line to help people. “I want to be there for them with information, comfort and support,” she says. “I don’t want anyone to go through what I had to go through.”