Members of the pulmonary hypertension (PH) community gathered virtually Aug. 1 for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) Summer PHling.
Hosted by PH advocate and former Broadway performer Stephen Carter-Hicks, the entertaining, heartwarming event included the PHA Conference fashion show and a recognition of many PHA volunteers who support the PH community.
The fashion show featured 24 PH patients who showed how they proudly flaunt or cleverly conceal face masks, oxygen tanks, pumps and mobility devices. Fashions included bedazzled fanny packs, superhero costumes, PHormalwear, Summer PHun outfits, zebra masks, periwinkle shirts and other symbols of PH pride.
After the show, PHA recognized dozens of advocates, fundraisers and support group leaders for their hard work and dedication to the PH community.
While Stephen didn’t sing, he provided much-needed levity as part of his hosting duties. “I live my life with laughter. It’s a great medicinal healer,” he said.
True to his word, he interspersed humor – along with a makeshift sparkly stage curtain and hat adorned with his mask collection – with more serious messages of support and gratitude.
“When I was diagnosed, I didn’t know how PH would take away things I value, like my career,” he recalled. “When I found PHA, it literally saved my life. I got connected with my local support group and got involved with fundraising events. I had a way to fight back. I’m so grateful they are here for all of us today.”
PHA thanks Stephen and all of the volunteers who contributed to Summer PHling and to the PH community throughout the year. We look forward to seeing everyone at PHA 2022 International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions in Atlanta.
In case you missed Summer PHling, you can watch the recording on our website.