Silver Spring, Md. (March 28, 2018) – At Manasquan High School in Manasquan, NJ, where she taught physical education and health classes for 35 years, Sharyn Robbins was a role model for healthy, fit living. On top of teaching PE and Health classes, she coached girls’ field hockey, basketball, bowling and softball. During her summer breaks, she was on the Jersey shore, swimming, riding the waves and doing water aerobics. Sharyn’s healthy habits continued after she retired… until for no apparent reason and without warning, she couldn’t exercise without struggling to breathe.
For years, Sharyn went to her cardiologist and pulmonologist regularly. They told her she had high blood pressure and asthma. While she was never convinced she had either condition, doctors put her on medication for both. One day, while shoveling snow from her long hilly driveway, Sharyn made a major lifechanging and lifesaving decision. She moved to Las Vegas. That’s where more than three years after the onset of her symptoms, her doctor identified the cause of her extreme shortness of breath. She had pulmonary hypertension (PH).
PH is a complex, life-threatening illness that affects adults and children of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. It results in the arteries in the lungs becoming damaged, narrowed or stiffened. PH forces the right side of the heart to pump extra hard to push blood through to the lungs, which can lead to right heart failure and death. Symptoms of PH are non-specific and include shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain. Consequently, people with PH can go months, sometimes years, believing they have less threatening illnesses, such as asthma. While PH can exist alone, it can also be associated with other illnesses, such as heart disease, connective tissue disorders and chronic blood clots. While tens of thousands are diagnosed, millions of Americans could be at risk.
Since receiving her diagnosis, Sharyn is breathing easier, assisted by oxygen and three oral PH medications. She has also found a way to return to some of her pre-PH passions.
“Now, while there’s no swimming and no tennis, I do still bowl three days a week, and I also have continued to walk my dog at least a half mile daily — unless it’s too cold,” Sharyn said. “Ha, ha! Las Vegas does get chilly.”
In addition to having the information that helps her take better care of herself, Sharyn makes time to take care of others. “Most of all I am enjoying being the group leader for the Inspirations Las Vegas Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) support group.”
PHA is the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of support, education and disease awareness resources for people living with PH, those who care for them and health care professionals who treat the disease.
Sharyn and her fellow Inspirations group members are busy preparing for the April 14th 10th Annual Scramble for a Cure Golf Tournament, a PHA O2breathe fundraiser at Las Vegas’ Angel Park Golf Club. In addition to nine holes of golf, the event includes a ball drop, giving donors (those in attendance and others who cannot make it) an opportunity to buy a $20 numbered golf ball that’s dropped above the golf course. The ball that lands closet to the hole wins. Half the fees go into the prize pool and the other half go to PHA.
To learn more about this event and to register visit: http://www.scramble4acure.com/.
Sharyn Robbins bowls a strike in this undated series of photos. Sharyn is living her best life with PH by staying active and by serving as the group leader for the Inspirations Las Vegas Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) support group. Sharyn and her fellow Inspirations group members are busy preparing for the April 14th 10th Annual Scramble for a Cure Golf Tournament, a PHA O2breathe fundraiser at Las Vegas’ Angel Park Golf Club.