We are deeply saddened by the passing of PHA Board of Trustees member and longtime volunteer Sally K. Maddox on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Atlanta.
Diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary hypertension at the age of 21 in 1990, Sally was a dedicated volunteer and passionate supporter of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) since its early years. In 1997, she became leader of the Greater Atlanta Georgia support group. Her impact on the pulmonary hypertension (PH) community led to her being named one of PHA’s Periwinkle Pioneers — a select group of individuals and groups responsible for advancing care for individuals with PH and helping to change the history of this disease. Sally was first elected to the PHA Board of Trustees in 1999. She took a brief break from the Board in 2009 and was re-elected in January 2010, 2013 and 2016. At the time of her passing, she was serving as the secretary of the Board.
Attending PHA’s biennial International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions was particularly meaningful for Sally. She attended PHA’s first Conference in 1994 and every Conference since, most recently serving as a volunteer for the 2018 International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions. Attending Conference became a family affair with her mother Mary volunteering during the event.
Sally celebrated a major milestone with the 15th Georgia Fun Walk recently. As the founder and event organizer, Sally recalled starting the walk in 2004, after returning from PHA’s 2004 Conference and experiencing the loss of her good PHriend two weeks later. Sally and the local PH community banded together to host the walk in memory of their fellow support group member.
“We just did it,” Sally said. “We had never done anything like this before and now continue each year because it is an opportunity to raise awareness and money for a cure,” she remembered. “Don’t be afraid that you’ll fail.” Since 2004, Sally’s fun walk raised more than $235,000.
As PHA’s education chair, Sally created PHANews, serving as editor in its early years. During a PHA Board meeting, when PH treatments to extend life did not yet exist, she said, “I don’t know if this decision will help me, but I believe it will help the next generation of patients. We should do it.” She also served as a reviewer of Pulmonary Hypertension: A Patient’s Survival Guide and was the 2015 keynote speaker of On the Road – Atlanta.
In 1996 Sally married Shelby, a former member of the Army Reserve who served a tour in Iraq, and became a mother to his son, Brandon, who is an aspiring singer/songwriter. She was mother as well to her Chiweenie, aka mini Doberman Slash Maddox. Sally also was a huge Jimmy Buffet fan.
Sally taught math for more than 20 years at the Floyd County Transitional Academy. She graduated with her master’s and specialist degrees in secondary mathematics education from the University of West Georgia. In 2018, she completed her Educational Doctorate in Leadership for Learning with a secondary mathematics concentration from Kennesaw State University.
Please join us in a warm and grateful tribute to Sally’s life and commitment to finding a cure for PH.