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Like many patients, Joanna Grey’s journey to her pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) diagnosis was far from simple. Initially, doctors attributed her symptoms of breathlessness and chest pain to panic attacks, anxiety and stress. However, Joanna knew that something else was wrong and persisted in her search for answers.

Joanna tried several medications to help manage her symptoms, including sildenafil, Opsumit and Uptravi. Despite her discomfort and fatigue, she continued to work full time and fulfill her role as mother, wife and sister. Joanna rarely shared her reality as someone living with an invisible illness. “She’d go to work so she was not late, become sick at work, and call me to bring her a change of clothes so she could keep going,” Jeff says.

In 2019, after battling her employer for accommodations, Joanna’s family convinced her to leave her job. This put a whole new stress on her family.

“As much as I recognized the [disease] progression, sometimes you didn’t notice it because you were in it every day. It’s much different living with someone who is sick like that,” Jeff says. “You can’t live your life thinking the worst things will happen.”

Thankfully, Joanna and her family found a huge source of hope in two of her doctors: Barbara LaVarge M.D., and Alison Witkin, M.D. Both doctors became the advocates that Joanna and her family needed. Dr. LaVarge suggested Joanna connect with the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA), which proved to be an invaluable resource. Through her participation in two PHA O2breathe walks in Boston, Joanna and her family found a sense of community that they needed.

After Joanna passed away from transplant complications in 2021, her family has been dedicated to keeping her memory alive. They continue to gather together to remember the good times they shared with their independent and sassy Jo. Her experience taught them how short life can be and the importance of having a strong support system.

Invest in PHA’s wide-ranging programs that support patients by making a donation today. Commit a future contribution to our community of hope by remembering PHA in your estate plan, through bequests, retirement plan assets, insurance or other assets.

Donor Spotlights

Family Shares Story To Help Other Bereaved Caregivers

Joanna Grey found hope in her doctors, her family and the pulmonary hypertension community after her 2016 diagnosis. Since her 2021 death from transplant complications, her family has been striving to keep her memory alive. Joanna's family shared her story with the Pulmonary Hypertension Association for the spring issue of Pathlight, PHA's quarterly magazine, and PHA's spring fundraising campaign.

Help 11-Year-Old Baseball Player Strike Out PH

When Tyler Garigen was diagnosed with PH, he was only 4 years old. Thanks to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA), he and his family found hope for the future. “I can’t imagine living with PH without all the help from PHA.,” he says. Tyler, the face of PHA’s 30th anniversary fall fundraising campaign, encourages the PH community to help PHA continue providing support, education and research.

Support Our Spring Fundraising Campaign by June 30

Marcie McGregor, the face of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association’s spring fundraising campaign, shared her emotional story at PHA 2022 International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions in Atlanta. Join Marcie and her family with a gift to PHA by June 30, and give hope for PH patients of all ages.

Devoted to Each Other and PHA

The Pulmonary Hypertension Association recognizes the long-term love between Georgette and Dean Bridger in our end-of-year fund raising campaign. Join them in making a gift to give all families affected by pulmonary hypertension hope for the holidays.

Michigan Man Honors Optimistic, Spirited Wife

John and Sandy Awood were planning a big bucket list trip in 2007: An excursion to Egypt with a boat trip up the Nile to see historical sites along the way. Later that year, they canceled the trip after Sandy was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension. John remembers his wife’s fighting spirit by supporting the Pulmonary Hypertension Association.

McGraw Family: Making a Difference for 3 Decades

Terry and Tom McGraw initially joined the fledging Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) to find answers. Thirty years later, they’re entrenched in the pulmonary hypertension community as longtime volunteers and fundraisers. Discover their story as part of PHA’s 30th anniversary.