This week’s Volunteer Spotlight focuses on Evette Britton, the leader of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) Nashville Support Group. She is a member of PHA’s Support Group Leader Advisory Board, a regional networking group for support group leaders. Evette’s region includes Colorado, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. She and her husband of 38 years, Edward, live in Gallatin, Tennessee. They have two sons, a daughter (deceased), three grandchildren and a great-niece they raised. Here is her story.
Q: Why did you become a volunteer?
A: I became a volunteer to help people. When I was a kid, someone helped me, and I am forever grateful. Volunteering is my way of paying it forward.
Q: What motivated you to join a support group/become involved in PHA?
A: I was diagnosed with scleroderma in 1997. I joined PHA in 2005, the year I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH). Being a part of a support group is an opportunity to learn from and be with people like you. You can talk until you’re blue in the face with your friends and family, but unless they’ve been there, they may not truly understand. In a support group, you can find that understanding. There has always been a support group to help me at various times in my life when I needed help the most. The Scleroderma Foundation, PHA and The Compassionate Friends have all helped to get me to now with my sanity somewhat intact.
Q: What are you most proud of related to your volunteer work?
A: I am most proud of my support group. I think we are a close group. We tend to have a meeting after the meeting to just chat. Before the pandemic, I reserved our venue for an extra hour just for that purpose. I’m also proud of the relationships I’ve formed over the years with people that I might not have met if it wasn’t for being a support group leader.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: Since attending my first International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions in 2006, I have loved hearing the stories of long-term survivors. They made me believe there was life after my PH diagnosis and I could still enjoy my life. All I had to do was embrace the new me and keep moving. At that conference, a newly diagnosed patient stood up and said, “I ain’t dying ’til I’m dead.” That one comment has stuck with me all these years.
Meet leaders like Evette, and join a PHA support group. All support group meetings currently are conducted by phone or video conference. Find a meeting.
Support group leaders: Complete this form to connect with your Regional Networking Group leader.