About the People Who Fundraise

Jennifer Wenckus and Thomas BrownJennifer Wenckus and Thomas Brown

Couple’s Wedding Takes Flight with PHA

When Jennifer Wenckus and Thomas Brown began to plan their Oct. 3, 2008, wedding, they knew they wanted to include a charitable gift in honor of their special day. Jen and Tommy have made donations to other charities in the past, but when they decided to make a gift in lieu of traditional favors at their wedding, they wanted a deeper connection to the charity. We thought, “Why don’t we make it a little more personal and donate to Marchelle’s organization -- PHA?” Jen said. Marchelle Corbett, Tommy’s step-sister, passed away from pulmonary hypertension on Sept. 12, 2007.

Jen and Tommy visited the PHA website and found information about PHA’s In Honor of Our Lives program. Jen then contacted PHA’s Development department about arranging their special gift. PHA provided the couple with small cards which explained their gift, how it was in honor of their guests and in memory of Marchelle, and also provided information about PH. Not only did their special gift memorialize Marchelle, but it also helped educate and inform their guests about PH.

Marchelle CorbettMarchelle Corbett

ButterflyThe family uses a picture of a butterfly to symbolize Marchelle

At the couple’s request, PHA even included a special image on the cards. “On the day Marchelle passed some family members in Massachusetts saw a monarch butterfly,” Jen said. “Tommy and I also saw a monarch butterfly down here in Virginia -- a clumsy one, as though it was just learning how to fly. As soon as we heard of the other butterfly sightings we knew: those beautiful butterflies were Marchelle.” The family now uses a monarch butterfly to symbolize Marchelle, and the couple requested that it be included on the note cards.

Contact at 301-565-3004 x742 or to learn more about the program.

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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.