Family story

Catherine WhitakerLisa Young

Racing in Memory of Fallen PH Mother

On January 7 and 8, 2006, Lisa Young will take on her greatest challenge to date – running the Walt Disney World Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge; a 13.1 mile and a 26.2 mile race through Walt Disney World. Why would she take the time to train for and run not only a half marathon, but a full marathon the very next day? To raise awareness and money for Pulmonary Hypertension, of course.

Lisa’s journey began in October of 1997 when her mother, Catherine M. Whitaker, was diagnosed with Primary Pulmonary Hypertension. The journey ended on January 4, 2001, when Cathy lost her battle with this disease. According to Lisa, “watching mom battle this disease inspired me. I always knew how special mom was, but this gave me a new perspective on her. She never complained about the different medicines and their side effects (no matter how debilitating) or the many different procedures she had to go through. She never stopped being a mom and best friend, no matter how bad she felt. Mom was and will always be my biggest hero.”

Lisa understands that many people feel the same way about watching their loved ones battle PH and wants to do something about it. Raising funds and awareness about this disease is the goal of her race in January. She wants to tell as many people as she can about the disease and raise as much money as possible. All of the monies raised will be sent directly to Pulmonary Hypertension Association for patient education and research.

To date, Lisa has begun her training for this race. Training for one race is hard enough for her, but training for both races (she’ll be running 39.3 miles in two days) is a difficult challenge. What keeps her training is knowing that someone will benefit from the funds and awareness that she raises, “the knowledge that soon someone will not lose a loved one to this disease and their lives won’t be turned upside down is what keeps me going on days when I don’t want to run. That, and the fact that I’ve told so many people that I’m doing this; how can I let them down?”

If you are interested in sponsoring Lisa for this race, please make a donation online, Be sure to click on special event and enter “Goofy’s Challenge” on the special event field.


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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.