Donor Stories

Vern Smith Establishes First PHA Endowment in Memory of Wife

Barbara SmithBarbara Smith was diagnosed with PH in 1995 and she had difficulty finding hope. Barbara had lost both her daughter and her sister to PH shortly before her diagnosis, and she had little doubt that she would soon meet the same fate. Attending her first PHA conference in 1996 changed her outlook completely. She said: I met some of the bravest, most compassionate and energetic people I’ve ever known, who were not only managing their disease, but LIVING with it.”

Barbara went on to volunteer with PHA and eventually serve on the board and as the volunteer coordinator for the 2004 conference. Sadly, we lost Barbara in October of 2005.

Her husband Vern created the Barbara L. Smith Endowment to provide scholarships for patients and caregivers to attend the PHA conferences and meetings that helped Barbara to find strength during the most difficult times. In this way, Barbara’s memory will live on in the PH Community. Our deepest gratitude to Vern for establishing PHA’s first endowed fund.



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The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) awarded PHA the Abbey S. Meyers Leadership Award in 2012 for outstanding service to PHA members in advocacy, education and other key areas.