Stephen Carter-Hicks, a long-time singer and Broadway star, is excited to take the stage again after being diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) almost 10 years ago. He remembers first experiencing symptoms of PAH (before any actual diagnosis) while being on the road with his first Broadway show tour, Cats. “I remember getting out of breath and feeling dizzy while performing. I almost fainted while singing my big song at the end of the show! At the time, I had just been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, and I assumed my heart was just experiencing normal wear and tear,” says Stephen.
In 2014, Stephen stepped away from performing and went on medical disability. “At first, I thought I would never ever sing again, it got harder and harder to stand and sing. I kept singing in my church in Las Vegas because that’s all I had left,” says Stephen.
After moving home to the D.C. area in 2017, he got medical treatment and developed a plan of action with his medical team. He also continued to push forward and remains optimistic. “This has given me new life, and thanks to PHA, I have the desire and new PHound strength and confidence,” Stephen wrote to us recently. He also shared his hope in a video for Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month.
“I am looking forward to making a difference, as someone who is living with PAH, to take time to bring laughter, life and joy, in a time where it’s so bleak! I know what it’s like to be alone and afraid, and not have anyone to advocate or help, or to have the money for medication,” says Stephen.
Finding his joy and hope again, Stephen has decided to return to the stage in the show “Christmas from My Heart” being held in Maryland and Virginia to inspire and encourage others in their PHight with PH, through different holiday songs and storytelling. “It’s about hope, and it really does come right from my heart,” says Stephen. “I’ll do whatever I can to bring awareness and shed light on PAH and all forms of PH.