About the People Who Fundraise

Al and Dorothy AbramA Big Birthday Raises a Big Total for PH

“Getting to be 80 was a big deal for me.” Al Abram of Pompano Beach, Florida, was diagnosed with scleroderma in 1993. Ever since that diagnosis, Al and his wife, Dorothy, have been passionate fundraisers and awareness raisers for scleroderma research. When Al was subsequently diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2007, they decided to put all their fundraising efforts towards PHA. “We’ve been very, very thankful for PHA and the research you’ve done,” Dorothy says.

After his PH diagnosis, Al wasn’t sure he would have many more birthdays to celebrate. So when the big 8-0 drew near, he and Dorothy decided to host a “big, bang-up party” in celebration. They mailed out invitations far and wide, and noted that in lieu of presents, Al would be honored if the guests could make gifts in his honor to PHA.

“I’ve always felt that most senior citizens don’t need much that we don’t already have — and the few things we do need, we can take care of for ourselves,” Al says. “I wrote on the invitation that I didn’t want presents, but that the overall idea was to send a few bucks to PHA. And boy, did our friends and family come through in a very big way.”

When the party day came on January 9, 2011, more than 160 guests were there to celebrate with Al and Dorothy, representing family, friends, and even local politicians (who helped Al and Dorothy secure three proclamations to mark the occasion). “We’ve built friendships with a lot of people over the years, and it was amazing to see them come together for Al,” Dorothy says. “We’re very grateful for all of our friends and family.”

The party was a huge success. Al and Dorothy’s son, Michael, made a photo presentation of Al’s life, and guests shared their favorite stories about Al. “We felt like celebrities,” Dorothy says. “With walking the ‘red carpet’ and all the flashbulbs from pictures and people shouting our names, it was like being king and queen for a day.”

Leading up to and after the party, friends and family came together to donate more than $4,500 to PHA in Al’s honor. “Our goal was $4,000 and I’m glad we exceeded that amount,” Dorothy says. “We’ve also heard from folks that they want to keep giving to PHA in Al’s honor — and we hope it keeps coming!”

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

Read Samantha’s Story: Raising Funds at Her Bat Mitzvah

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Read Jen and Tommy’s Story: Educating Wedding Guests


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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.