For healthcare professionals who specialize in the study and treatment of pulmonary hypertension (PH), there are few more fitting symbols than Kilimanjaro of the daunting challenge and quest to find a cure for this debilitating and deadly lung disease.
On February 19, 2010, two members of the Allegheny General Hospital Gerald McGinnis Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro as part of a national campaign established by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) – called Path to a Cure – to raise awareness about the disease and money to support PH research programs around the country.
Raymond Benza, MD, a nationally recognized PH specialist who serves as director of the CVI Center for Research and Innovation and medical director of AGH’s Heart Failure, Transplantation and Mechanical Assist Devices Program, and Jessica Lazar, MPA, PA-C, director of Quality, Research and Education, will join Robert Frantz, M.D., a PH specialist from the Mayo Clinic, in a climb that is expected to take seven days.
Under the direction of Dr. Benza and Srinivas Murali, MD., medical director of the CVI, AGH houses one of the nation’s most advanced PH research programs, including the nation’s largest repository of DNA samples from patients with the disease.
The goal of the Path to a Cure campaign is to raise $100,000 to support basic and clinical PH research as well as related patient, family and community programs coordinated by the PHA. With a $50,000 matching fund established by the pharmaceutical company Actelion, every dollar donated or raised to support the Path to a Cure is doubled.
Those wishing to help with fundraising can contribute by:
• Donating a basket to raffle (CVI will host the raffle January 25-28 outside the AGH cafeteria).
• Directly sponsor the hikers by making a tax-deductable donation on the website.
The PHA Path to a Cure website ishttp://phassociation.org/pathtoacure/. A blog has also been established to keep people updated on the team’s training and fundraising activity at http://pathtoacure.blogspot.com/ For more information, please contact Jessica Lazar at 412-359-3345 or Dr. Benza at 412-359-4760.