You know that feeling you get after finishing your final leg at Ragnar, right after you sprinted to hand off your slap bracelet to your teammate? That tightness in your chest? Shortness in breath? That is how patients with Pulmonary Hypertension feel doing even the smallest tasks. Carrying in groceries, getting the paper or walking upstairs can feel like reaching the top of the red loop. At Ragnar Trail Appalachians-WV presented by Salomon, Team PHenomenal Hope is running to raise awareness and funds for the fight against the disease both in the United States and abroad.
Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) is a specific type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and right side of the heart. The arteries become narrowed, blocked or destroyed making it hard for blood to flow through, causing the heart muscle to weaken. Symptoms include shortness in breath, dizziness and chest pressure.
Currently in the United States, there are 14 medications that can be combined to help patients with PH. In Brazil, the federal government only provides three.
The team, made up of Michael Bauer, Amanda Budzowski-Gabarda, Christian Gabarda and Monica Reisz, is running Ragnar Trial Appalachians as an ultra to prepare for Bertioga Maresias, a 75km race in Brazil. There, they will meet Team PHenomenal Hope Brazil and bring awareness to the “Save Patients of Pulmonary Hypertension” petition, to bring more medications to Brazil.
“This is one of our missions this year where we’re really going to come together with the Brazil team more in unity in our fight against pulmonary hypertension,” says Amanda.
Each member on the team is also partnered with a person living with PH that they race for. The program is called #LetMeBeYourLungs.
“When things get really tough for us, we know there’s someone out there routing for us and waiting for us to cross the finish line,” says Amanda. “And we know we have the ability to get up everyday and run and make our hearts beat that fast, where a lot of these patients don’t have a choice that their heart is beating that fast when they do the things they have to do every day.”
In addition to the patients with PH living in the states, the team will also get #LetMeBeYourLungs partners who have the condition in Brazil.
“I really felt drawn to pulmonary hypertension because of how well it translates into what we actually feel when we run or when we compete in endurance sports,” says Amanda on why she runs with team PHenomenal Hope.
To donate to their cause, click here.