Special Events Stories & Photos

PHood PHight Against PH House Parties
California, August 2010

PH Patient Turns Love of the Culinary Arts into Research Dollars for Pulmonary Hypertension

Growing up, your teachers and parents likely forbade you to throw food at others…but who says you can’t have a little PHood PHight to put pulmonary hypertension in its place? PH patient Denise Bradby recently wrapped a series of House Parties which raised nearly $6,000 to support PH research and services for the PH community, while providing an inviting, laid-back setting for raising PH awareness.

Drawing inspiration from last November’s PH Awareness Month,

Dinner guests enjoy their gourmet home-cooked meal at a PHood PHight Against PH house partyDinner guests enjoy a home-cooked meal
while learning about PH.
 View Denise's Special Events mentor profile

 Denise asked herself the question, “What can I do to help make an impact?” while being mindful of time and energy she would need to invest. Denise thought of major foundation dinners she had attended in which guests made a donation to support and learn more about a featured foundation’s mission and programs. Typically taking place at a hotel, those events had speakers, a "program" and a mass-produced meal. She decided to apply that concept to raising funds and awareness of PH, but in a smaller setting - her home - and featuring a home-cooked meal. Add in a dash of creativity in the form of a unique event name, and voila! – PHood PHight Against PH was made.

Denise brought her love of cooking to make PHood PHight Against PH a gastronomic treat for her guests. She decided to open up her house to a maximum of six dinner guests on  five different evenings throughout the month of August. Working with a friend with culinary arts training, Denise developed a different multi-course gourmet menu for each evening, ranging from “Downhome Cajun” to “Comfort Food.”

She talked with several friends to see if the concept would fly and how much she should ask from each diner. Denise said, “On one hand, people easily pay $30 for a dinner out in the San Francisco Bay Area. But, as well as I cook, this would still be a home-cooked meal. Someone finally reminded me that they would be donating for a cause and to support me, not paying for food.” She also worked with a colleague, Natesh Daniel, on her flier design, which she then emailed out to about 100 friends, family and colleagues in her address book as a way to advertise her event.

A friend and volunteer created the unique flier design for PHood PHight Against PHAt the same time, Denise incorporated opportunities throughout the each dinner to help guests understand what PH is and how their support helps the cause. Periwinkle PH awareness wristbands served as napkin rings, and wallet cards with signs and symptoms of PH were incorporated into the centerpiece.

Although Denise was busy cooking as guests arrived and while eating their appetizers, she sat down with them for dinner, and conversation inevitably turned to the causes and effects of pulmonary hypertension. A large card providing background about the Tom Lantos PH Research and Education legislation and how guests could help by writing their representatives accompanied the presentation of dessert. As one of her diners commented, “You found the recipe not only for a zippy salad dressing and other delicious eats, but also for combining people in a delightful way.”

Congratulations to Denise on starting a PHood PHight – and raising $5,800 to-date, more than tripling her initial fundraising goal! Read on for Denise’s thoughts and advice on hosting a house party.

“-Accept offers of help, even if you don't like giving up control. (As a PH patient, this is a lesson I need to re-learn every single day.)

PH awareness materials provide finishing touches on Denise's table settingPH awareness materials provide the finishing
touches on Denise's table setting.
-If your guest list is anything smaller than a wedding, make sure you spend time with everyone who attends (like a wedding). People who want to support you (and your cause) also want to BE with you.

-Believe in the generosity of others -- I was frankly overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted to give without expectation of anything.

-Plan well, thinking about events you've been to and what you liked and did not like.

-Contact PHA for help! They have experience and lessons learned from other fund-raisers, and will give you advice, guidance, and some 'swag' to help make your event a success. I also applied for a grant to help offset my expenses.”

Did you know that… PHA offers Cookin’ Up a Cure House Parties how-to guides to help you get started on your own party planning for PH? Just follow the step-by-step “recipes for success” and you'll be on your way to a great wintertime event. House parties generally take only 1 – 2 months of planning time, so order your free copy today!


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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.