Sharon Smith, leader of the Altus, Oklahoma, PHA support group, relaunched her group after years of no in-person support in her area.
“I held my first meeting in 2014, but no one came. I tried again in February 2017, and this time Deloris and Rick Peacy, two support group leaders from Arkansas, attended. We were the only three there,” Sharon recalls.
Sharon wanted a support group in her area because she didn’t know what pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) was when she was diagnosed. “It was not until I saw a PAH specialist and he explained it to me that I finally started to understand. Then the fear and anxiety kicked in.”
A support group can help others with PAH discuss their fear and anxiety with others who understand their disease, Sharon says. That’s why she persevered with launching a support group.
Flash forward to Feb. 15, 2020, when Sharon re-launched the Altus support group with four attendees. In the meet-and-greet, attendees discussed the signs and symptoms of PAH and how everyone was feeling.
To make it easier for more people to attend, Sharon is expanding the meeting location for people in the Altus/Lawton area. Now more patients and caregivers can connect and learn about living with PH.