Our Journeys

PHAmerica Honors Essays

Dave Rider

PHAmerica Co-PHellows Ambassador (shared with Joshua Griffis)

Representing men diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension.

"I am grateful for the things I can do, and choose to put those things to work for the benefit of others."

- Dave Rider

My name is Dave Rider. I have pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), associated with diet pills and amphetamines and sleep apnea. I was diagnosed in August 2007 and this is what I have learned since then about the trial, tribulations and triumphs in life.

There comes a point in your life when your soul cries out to be set free. The spirit inside you is an entity in and of itself. It is sovereign and autonomous. The only catch is that it is compelled to seek love and truth. In between those two principles lies peace. That peace within is the single apex of a life's work. It is the ultimate goal.

Commitment, consistency, perseverance, faith, trust, surrender, being of service to others, love.... When you apply those principles in your life, they will change the nature of your spirit. There are a lot of things we can poison our spirit with, but eventually the true nature of who you are will demand to be set free. The transformation that follows can be really painful... but the results are a new creation, which is the person you were always meant to be.

Therein lies the truth of "it" as is my interpretation to the secrets of a good life and positive outlook. To get through the bad days, I only have to focus on service to others, love and compassion. This takes the focus off of myself and most of the time, God will put someone in my path whose problems are significantly worse than mine. From this comes gratitude. I am grateful for the things I can do, and choose to put those things to work for the benefit of others. Another thing I do during the tough times is to seek support and find those with a common bond and I find that pain shared is pain lessened, just as triumphs are multiplied.  

It has only taken me 47 years to learn this.

Better late than never.


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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.