Nicole Creech, support group leader of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) Lexington, Ky., support group, recently hosted a meeting on cardiopulmonary rehabilitation featuring speaker Katelyn King, MSEP, pulmonary rehabilitation coordinator at the University of Kentucky/Gill Heart & Vascular Institute in Lexington. Katelyn brought with her special guest Carmine the Therapy Dog whose owner is the dean of the university. Carmine’s duties include visiting patients at the Institute to encourage a sense of well-being and wellness. Group members enjoyed a question and answer session with Nicole, and there was great feedback from patients who have attended cardio rehab. The group had plenty of time to socialize after the presentation.

Nicole has been a PHA support group leader for four years and says, “I enjoy volunteering as a PHA support group leader because it gives me an opportunity to give back and to help others navigate their diagnosis. I love to empower pulmonary hypertension patients with hope. Once they are with other patients, they realize this chronic illness doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom. Support groups offer a place of comfort, support and new medical information.” Future support group meeting topics include estate planning, a “meet the doctor” session and transplants and patients with PH.