The Pulmonary Hypertension Association’s (PHA’s) The Right Heart campaign delivered a big impact during Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month, thanks to the efforts of the PH community. With the help of individuals with PH, families, caregivers, volunteers and health care providers, PHA raised awareness of PH in many ways, including special events and support group meetings and a digital campaign with social media graphics and key messages. Many associated disease associations volunteered to help spread the word though PHA’s statistics and facts about how patients with associated diseases carry an increased risk for developing PH.
PHA’s social media audience became a part of the campaign by helping to spread awareness using the PH Awareness Month toolkit. Website traffic increased 36 percent over the previous month as users downloaded social media samples and graphics with poignant messages about PH and its treatments. Facebook frames offered an interactive way for PHA friends to show support and raise awareness of PH. Participation by the PH community included sharing unique journeys via PHA’s The Right Heart blog. These stories help showcase the highs and lows of life with PH from the perspective of persons with PH patients, caregivers, family members and medical professionals and will continue to be posted throughout the year. The impact on social media was felt throughout PHA’s channels, but Facebook saw the greatest response, with 386 new followers, video views up 179 percent and nearly 27,000 post engagements
PHA members carried the PH Awareness Month message in many other ways as well, including print and TV news interviews, proclamations from public officials, community fundraisers and more. Barbara Thompson’s efforts are just one example. Nearly 10 years ago, Barbara asked Memphis television talk show host Loretta McNary to do a November episode about PH. At first, Loretta was spooked by Barbara’s oxygen, however she eventually realized that was exactly the reason she needed to do the show. This November, Barbara appeared on the Loretta McNary show for the ninth year in a row.
Barbara also pursues recognition of Awareness Month at every level of government through proclamations. She has already secured nine proclamations in 2018.
A popular Facebook Live interview featuring Dr. Gustavo Heresi, director of the pulmonary vascular and CTEPH program for the Respiratory Institute at Cleveland Clinic, helped raise awareness for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) on Nov. 14 for CTEPH Awareness Day. PHA celebrity PHighter Elvis Medrano was featured this week in a Washington, D.C. television interview chronicling the champion’s return to the ring after two surgeries for CTEPH. Elvis also helped create interest in CTEPH Awareness Day with a PHA advertisement.
While Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month 2018 draws to a close, the challenge remains year-round for the PH community to educate friends, family, lawmakers and the media about this debilitating disease. Send us your photos and descriptions of your PH Awareness Month and CTEPH Awareness Day success stories and we’ll create a resource of ideas for next year.
PHA thanks Actelion for its sponsorship of Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month.
Barbara Thompson has secured nine proclamations in 2018.