Special Events Stories & Photos

June 4 , 2007
Sylvia Earley does Dublin Mini-Marathon

PHA recently caught up with Sylvia Earley, a PH survivor who trained for the Dublin Mini-Marathon in Ireland and used her race as a way to fundraise for the cause.

Sylvia EarleyWhat is your connection to the disease and the PH Community?

Sylvia Earley: I had secondary PH myself as a result of pulmonary emboli. I had a major episode of blood clots almost five years ago. Eventually last year, I was sent to San Diego for PTE surgery where my clots were successfully removed.

In the years in between I found the PH website to be the best place to get information on pulmonary hypertension, its symptoms, causes etc. It was also the resource I turned to for information on PTE surgery. Through the website, I met a couple of people who had gone through this surgery themselves and they were so helpful in sharing their experience and offering advice.

Why did you want to get involved?

S.E.: Being in the unique position of having had PH myself but also now being essentially cured from it I wanted to do something to help those currently suffering from the disease. I still find the website a great resource and think it deserves all the funding it can get. I wanted to raise money both for the Association itself and also for research to find a cure.

How did you come up with the idea of fundraising through a mini-marathon?

S.E.: Every year Dublin holds a huge mini-marathon in which women of all ages can participate. Most raise money for charity. I’d always wanted to do it but hadn’t felt well enough to do so for the last few years. This year seemed the ideal opportunity and a great way to celebrate getting over the operation and PH itself.

What were your goals?

S.E.: First and foremost, to complete the marathon! I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. As regards fundraising I set myself the goal of raising 1,500 dollars, though, I have now gone beyond that figure. I also wanted to make people aware of exactly what I was raising money for with the hope they would gain a better understanding of the disease.

What did you do to get prepared for the race?

S.E.: As a beginner I decided to walk the marathon along with the vast majority of women who participate. Since my surgery I’ve done a lot of walking initially as part of the recovery process and then to maintain fitness. I kept this up with the goal of the marathon in mind and joined the gym (something I’ve never done before!) With over 40,000 women across Ireland participating, the national newspapers also ran fitness schedules to follow so I kept on track with those too.

Any surprises during the fundraising and training process?

S.E.: I was genuinely surprised at how generous many people were. Not just my friends and family but people who barely knew me who wanted to give for the cause. It was really wonderful.

Tell us about the actual race. How did you feel before the race? During? After?

S.E.: I was pretty nervous beforehand – I wasn’t really sure what to expect. However, once I got to the half way point I began to relax and enjoy it. There were bands playing at every kilometer to spur all the women on and the atmosphere was brilliant. Afterwards I felt a great sense of achievement.

Any tips for other runners interested in fundraising?

S.E.: Let people know as early as you can about your fundraising efforts so they have plenty of notice to donate. The First Giving website is also a great resource and I would encourage everyone to use it. There are some people, though, who would prefer to physically give money so design some hard copy sponsorship forms too. Don’t just restrict yourself to people you know. If someone donates, ask them would they bring a sponsorship form into their workplace or forward the link to First Giving to their friends.

If people aren’t sure what they are being asked to donate to give them some literature on PH. Fundraising is a great incentive for anyone doing any type of run, walk or marathon. For a beginner such has me it really motivated me to keep up my weekly training.

Will you continue to be involved in the PH community?

S.E.:Yes! I’d love to do all I can for the PH community.

 

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