When Tyler Garigen was 4 years old, he told his mom, “I can’t find my breathing.” He didn’t know another way to describe his shortness of breath.
But his parents understood that he needed to see a doctor. After several tests, they learned Tyler had pulmonary hypertension (PH).
“Even though I was little, I knew my parents were upset and scared,” says Tyler, now 11.
Tyler is the face of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association’s fall fundraising campaign. He and his parents shared his story to ensure PHA can continue its mission that began 30 years: to extend and improve the lives of people with PH.
Tyler’s shortness of breath has improved since his diagnosis. For a few weeks, he needed supplemental oxygen all day and night. Then he started feeling better and needed it only at night.
Today, he feels so well that he can play baseball again.
While playing baseball makes him happy, he knows he must be careful and can’t always do the same things as his friends. “I learned that lesson not too long ago, when I passed out at baseball camp, trying to keep up.”
Tyler, his parents and younger brother work around Tyler’s PH every day. When they plan a vacation, they consider how weather and travel challenges will affect Tyler. When the invite people to their house, they need to make sure everyone is healthy. And if Tyler wants to go on a playdate, they must be sure someone else can give him the right medicine at the right time.
Tyler’s family attends PHA support group meetings to share their concerns and exchange experiences with other families affected by PH. The family also loves to attend PHA’s International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions.
At the 2018 Conference, Tyler met other kids with PH, which he says was one of the best things ever.
“I can’t imagine living with PH without all the help from PHA,” he says. “I hope PHA is going to find a cure for me and other PH patients.”
Please join the Garigen family in making a donation in support of PHA’s 30th anniversary. Your contribution helps PHA continue three decades of work to support people like Tyler.
“I’ve learned so much about PH because of PHA,” Tyler says. “I want other people to be that lucky, too, so we can fight this disease and get rid of PH for good.”