Lauri Stanfield donates to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) in honor of the people who inspire her: fellow PH patients.
Lauri, of Tomball, Texas, was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH) in 2014 after years of symptoms. Initially she was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma to explain her shortness of breath.
At the time, she often traveled for work. On a work trip in North Dakota, Lauri couldn’t walk up a low incline. That’s when she knew something was really wrong.
“I was using my inhaler, but it didn’t help at all,” she says. “I knew I had to have something more serious than asthma.”
To Lauri’s doctors, her symptoms were a medical mystery. She was told she could have hypothyroidism, an upper respiratory infection or pneumonia. They tested her for Legionnaires disease. Lauri went back and forth from the hospital for months. She was put on bed rest and tried a clean eating program. But nothing was working.
She eventually was admitted to a hospital for fear that she had a pulmonary embolism. Finally, she received her diagnosis — pulmonary hypertension.
“My doctors said it was a terminal disease, and they weren’t sure how much time I’d have,” says Lauri, who immediately began her own research and found PHA’s website. She used it to come up with questions for her doctor and learned about a PHA on the Road event in her area.
PHA on the Road is a free educational and networking event for people with PH patients and their families. The events took place in various cities before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I learned so much about my disease from PHA,” Lauri says.
Meanwhile, Lauri’s condition was getting worse. She was in and out of the ICU, but she made it to that PHA on the Road. Before that, she I didn’t realize there were so many people with the same disease.
After a 28-day stay in the hospital, Lauri was told that she had pulmonary veno-occlusive disease (POVD), a rare form of PH.
She was put on the list for a lung transplant, but her health continued to decline. She didn’t think she would make it, but one Friday afternoon, she got the call from her hospital’s transplant team. She immediately left for the hospital and received her new lungs the next morning.
“I’m lucky to be alive,” Lauri says. “That’s why I give back to PHA. Some of the best people I’ve ever met in the world are PH patients. I know that my gifts honor them.”
If you are inspired to give back to the PH community like Lauri, donate to PHA today. To learn more about giving back to PHA, email us Giving@PHAssociation.org or call 240-485-3810.