Donor Stories

 Patient Pays it Forward with Planned Gift to PHA

Sandra Awood

At age 65 Sandra Awood was looking forward to retirement and planning a trip to Egypt with her family when she began noticing she would become out of breath doing the simplest of tasks. Walking up the stairs in her home was a struggle. “After speaking with my doctor he referred me to a pulmonologist who diagnosed me with pulmonary hypertension (PH),” Sandra says. “I immediately called the Mayo Clinic to seek treatment; the first question the cardiology receptionist at Mayo asked me was ‘how soon can you get here?’”

Sandra went home and began researching her unknown disease. “I’m a computer person,” Sandra says. “I needed to learn more about PH, and what I learned was terrifying.” It was through the amazing care that she received at Mayo Clinic that she was directed to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA). “On one of my first visits my doctor handed me a copy of PHA’s Survival Guide,” Sandra says. “I then connected with my local support group, got involved in PHA’s 435 Campaign and attended PHA’s International Conference in 2008. I received the encouragement I needed to fight this disease.”

Now two years later Sandra is responding well to her treatment plan. She volunteers with a first grade class in her local school district and hopes someday she can continue her plan to vacation in Egypt. Sandra has also continued her commitment to PHA. In May of 2010 she included PHA in her estate plans and joined PHA’s Legacy of Hope Society. “PHA is an amazing organization. PHA has been helpful and user-friendly during a time when I needed it most,” Sandra says.

“It is important for me to pay it forward,” Sandra concluded. “I have gotten so much from others and this is my chance to give back.”



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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.