Silver Spring, MD (Jan. 22, 2019) — The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) will hold the first Tampa O2breatheTM PHun Run and Walk Feb. 2 to raise funds to fight pulmonary hypertension (PH) , a misunderstood, complex and deadly disease that affects persons of all ages. The timed 5K run and walk is inspired by Melissa (Missy) Stok Rizzo, a Tampa resident who passed away due to PH-related heart failure in December 2017 at the age of 36.

PH is high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs that affects the heart-to-lung system and can lead to death from right-heart failure. Without treatment, the average survival rate for people with PH is 2.8 years after diagnosis. Individuals with PH often are misdiagnosed with more common diseases, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Shortly after Missy’s diagnosis, she strove to increase awareness of PH to help find a cure. Missy’s friends and family are continuing the work she began by organizing the Tampa O2breathe PHun Run and Walk.

Registration for the Tampa O2breathe PHun Run and Walk begins Saturday, Feb. 2, at 7 a.m. EST at Al Lopez Park, 4810 N. Himes Ave., Tampa. To learn more about the event and to participate, go to the PHA website at

About the Pulmonary Hypertension Association
Headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the country’s leading pulmonary hypertension (PH) organization. PHA’s mission is to extend and improve the lives of those affected by PH; its vision is a world without PH, empowered by hope. PHA achieves this by connecting and working together with the entire PH community of patients, families, health care professionals and researchers. For more information and to learn how you can support PH patients, visit and connect with PHA on Twitter and Instagram @PHAssociation and on Facebook at



Kevin R. Walter
PHA Communications