This month, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) joins the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to mark American Heart Month. American Heart Month promotes heart health and encourages people to reduce their risk of heart disease.

For the pulmonary hypertension (PH) community, American Hearth Month is an opportunity to draw attention to the connection between PH and heart disease. PHA encourages those in the community with heart disease to share their stories to educate the public, policymakers and health care providers about the link between PH and heart failure.

Throughout February, PHA will use social media to spread the word about the link between PH and heart failure. We’re starting by sharing the stories of several people with PH and caregivers about their journeys with congenital heart defects, left heart disease and other heart conditions.

We welcome you to share your experiences, too. Submit your story to PHA’s Right Heart Blog, and share your tips to improve heart health on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked in with #OurHearts and #PHAssociation.

For inspiration, check out these stories:

When Kathleen Grady started the Remodulin pump 11 years ago, she was sick, in pain and miserable. She felt sorry for herself all the time, especially after reading friends’ Facebook posts about fun activities. One day, she had an ah-ha moment. “I decided not to be a victim. I didn’t want anyone’s pity.”

Focusing on the Small Things to Breathe Easier

Donna Kay Hutchison has PH due to left heart disease (Group 2) and PH due to lung disease (Group 3). She and her husband Dave and their pet bunny Stretchy live close to the ocean in Bandon, Oregon, where she enjoys nature, photography, and arts and crafts.

Reenergized and Holding on to Hope

In 1966, 8-year-old Laura Hooley underwent surgery to repair a congenital heart defect (CHD). The surgery allowed her to play volleyball, ski and enjoy relatively good health. But her CHD eventually led to pulmonary hypertension. For American Heart Month, she shares what gave her new hope.

An Amazing, Beautiful, Fearless Life with PH

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Rebekah often was sick as a toddler. At 2, she was jumping on a trampoline when she turned blue and struggled to breathe. Eventually her parents learned that their first-born daughter suffered from PH with a large hole in her heart. Now 30, Rebekah sees every day as a gift.

Transitioning from Pediatric to Adult Care

Becca Atherton was diagnosed at birth with complex congenital heart disease that caused her PH. When she was 24 years, she transitioned from pediatric PH care to an adult facility. “I’ve learned the value of support and resilience and that this transition isn’t as simple as just knowing my PH type, or what medications I’m on,” she said in 2017.