Former U.S. Marine and “Pacing Parson” Don Stevenson is fighting pulmonary hypertension (PH) with awareness and fundraising as he completes a 1,000 mile walk, but he needs support from the public to achieve his goals, according to a press release.
PH, a form of high blood pressure in the lung arteries, can not only be extremely debilitating, it also affects the functioning of the heart, which may lead to right heart failure. With symptoms like fatigue, fainting, or shortness of breath, PH is often misdiagnosed as asthma or another respiratory condition. Patients with the disease have an average survival rate of 2.8 years after diagnosis.
The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the leading PH organization in the U.S. With a mission to extend and improve the lives of those suffering from the condition, the organization’s ultimate goal is to eliminate PH. The PHA works together with the entire PH community, including medical professionals, patients, and their families.
PHA is now asking donors to help Stevenson – who has completed many charity walks, including a four-month, 3,000-mile cross-country walk in September 2015, raising nearly $10,000 in donations – by going to Don Stevenson’s page on O2breathe.
Stevenson, dubbed the Pacing Parson for his fundraising walks, celebrated his 80th birthday Jan. 4 by setting out on his 1,000-mile walk for PHA. So far he’s at 500 miles but, despite his determination, he has only been able to raise $50, which is why PHA is now asking the public to join his initiative and help Stevenson raise money to fight PH.
On average, the retired pastor from Auburn, Washington, walks at least 20 miles a day, along with a walker and an oxygen tank to show the difficulties faced by PH patients. Stevenson, who is a member of the national PHA team O2 breathe, walsk six days a week, taking Sundays off to rest. Just a few weeks after he started the walk, his friend, to whom he had dedicated the walk, lost her life to PH. He expects to complete his birthday charity walk sometime in March.
“We are grateful that the Pacing Parson is so caring and passionate that he is taking such measures to bring more attention and funding to help us fight PH,” PHA President and CEO Rino Aldrighetti said in a press release. “PHA is a national nonprofit that relies on donations to fund its many programs, including the nation’s largest PH patient and caregiver support group network, lifesaving early diagnosis awareness and education programs, specialty care resources and research to find ways to prevent and cure PH. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary this year, we hope people will find it in their hearts to support the Pacing Parson in his fundraising journey.”
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