PHA Canada eNewsletter: Vol.5 #11 Nov. 2015 

November PH Awareness Month

It’s begun! November is PH Awareness Month and, with your help, we’re planning on making as many people as possible aware of pulmonary hypertension, its symptoms, and its impact on patients, caregivers, family and friends. There are many ways to spread PH awareness, and we hope that you’ll join our community’s efforts to make a periwinkle splash in the coming month!

PHighters and PH Supporters all over the country are taking part in awareness-raising activities. Our Ambassadors, PH Support Group Leaders, and members have planned activities big and small to make as many people as possible aware of what the letters PH stand for and just how strong the PH community is! To find out about PH Awareness Month events happening in your area, please have a look at our Community Events postings on the right. If you are partaking in awareness-raising activities, please send us updates and photos throughout the month. We’d love to share your achievements with the community! Email

Join our Lend a Hand Campaign!
We’ve received many Lend a Hand kit orders, and are aiming for the sky: we’re hoping to collect a total of 10 000 signed handprints and the same amount of money to support our research scholarship and our programs. If you want to participate in our Lend a Hand Campaign, it’s not too late! Order your kit here.

Spread PH Awareness on Social Media!
Social media channels are the perfect venue to reach out to people outside of the PH Community. Throughout the month of November, we encourage you to help us make our awareness-raising posts go viral! Please like, share, retweet, and tag posts related to #PHAwarenessMonth.

We’ll be posting about PH awareness all month long on Facebook and Twitter. Keep an eye-out for our Tipping Point Campaign posts with quotes contributed by members of our community! We invite you to change your profile picture on Facebook to a PH awareness image. Here’s the one we’ve created. Feel free to use and circulate it! Download image.
3rd Annual Masquerade Ball

Organized by PHA Canada Ambassador and PH nurse Gail Nicholson through YYCharity, the Third Annual Masquerade Ball in support of PHA Canada was a frank success! On October 24, Southern Alberta PH Supporters gathered at Cowboys Calgary for a dazzling evening of masquerade, performances, and PH community support. Thank you to all of those who contributed to the event!

PH Awareness Card
Supporter Karen Aiken and Grandmother of PHighter Olivia Zloty, participated in Karen Burniston's October 2015 Designer Challenge: Characters in Costume, a challenge that invites craft designers to produce a thematic card. Karen used this challenge as an awareness-raising initiative and designed a card inspired by the “hoofbeats don’t always mean horses” idiom and “PH is a medical zebra” metaphor that we use as part of our early diagnosis messaging. In addition to producing the card, Karen published an extensive article on her blog and on the popular craft making blog by Karen Burniston.

Periwinkle Extravaganza Sale!
We want as much periwinkle and PH awareness-raising items as possible to be out in the world during PH Awareness Month, so we’re having a HUGE SALE on our most popular store items! If you want an extra purple blanket or a beautiful lung t-shirt, now is the time to make your order! We’ll throw in a PHA Canada pen, awareness pin and awareness keychain with every purchase!
Items on sale until the end of November (all prices include shipping):
  • Limited edition periwinkle lung t-shirt $10 (regular $22.50)
  • Periwinkle fleece blanket $13.50 (regular $25.50)
  • Combo Limited edition periwinkle lung t-shirt and periwinkle fleece blanket $20
  • Lung Greetings Cards (pack of 12) $8 (regular $12)
  • Phenomenal Hope Wristband $1 or $3.50/5 wristbands (regular $2/$6.25)
Visit our online store to make an order!
Fundraising for PHA Canada
PH Awareness Month is the perfect time of year to raise funds to support PHA Canada’s programs and activities. Many of our PH Awareness Month activities have a fundraising component and we thank all our community members who are raising awareness and funds!

Another way to raise funds is through online donations. We’ve created an online fundraising campaign in conjunction with PH Awareness Month. Some of our Board members, Ambassadors and community members have created personal fundraising pages to benefit PHA Canada. We invite you to show your support by making a donation to their pages. All donations will support PHA Canada’s programs.
Access PH Awareness Month 2015 Fundraising Pages.

If you’re willing to go the extra mile and help raise funds to support our activities, we invite you to create a personal online donation page, through which you can ask family and friends to make a financial contribution to PHA Canada. Online fundraising is for everyone, not just the tech-savvy. Creating your own personal fundraising page is quick and easy to do and is a great way to reach out to all your contacts and spread PH awareness at the same time. 
Visit to start your own online fundraising campaign!

The Role of the Nitric Oxide Pathway in PAH and Drugs Targeting this Pathway
Contributed by Mohamad Taha, PH Researcher
In this issue, we will address some questions regarding PH therapy, more specifically, the role of the nitric oxide pathway in PAH and the drugs targeting this pathway.    
- What is the nitric oxide (NO) pathway composed of?
This pathway is one of the crucial pathways leading to blood vessel relaxation (vasodilation) in the lungs. Nitric oxide (NO) is produced from a molecule called L-arginine, an amino acid that can be synthesised in our body or acquired from diet, with the help of nitric oxide synthase (NOS). NO binds soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC), leading to production of a new molecule called cyclic guanisone monophosphate (cGMP). cGMP is the molecule responsible for vasodilation/relaxation of the blood vessels, however, it can be degraded by a family of enzymes called the phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5). NO is usually produced in endothelial cells—the cells lining the inside of blood vessels—but then is taken up by smooth muscle cells—the cells making the second layer within a blood vessel that is important for vessel contraction.
- I am confused! How does this pathway work again?
To summarize:
> High levels of NO/sGC result in high production of cGMP, leading to blood vessel relaxation.
> Low levels of NO/sGC result in low production of cGMP, leading to blood vessel tightening.
- Why is this pathway important in PAH?
In PAH, there are dramatic decreases in NO. This results in low vessel relaxation, and constant constriction, leading to narrowing of the blood vessels in the lungs. The effect of this is increased pressure in the lungs and pulmonary arteries. To continue reading the article please click here.

New Guidelines for Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension—The first ever guidelines for diagnosis and treatment have been published in the journal Circulation. 

Stem Cells Derived from Human Umbilical Cord Blood Could Treat Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension—Conditioned medium from hUCB-MSCs in a PAH rat model leads to improved lung function in affected rats.

Hoofbeats Don't Always Mean Horses—For those of you who follow my blog, you know that our 4 year old Granddaughter Olivia was diagnosed with advanced Pulmonary Hypertension last September.

Research in the news: Scientists identify potential therapeutic target for pulmonary hypertension—Yale researchers have uncovered a novel cell type that is essential to the development of pulmonary hypertension and promises to lead to improved therapies.

Targeted Therapeutics Under Investigation For PAH Treatment—Scientific research groups and pharmaceutical companies around the world are working to develop targeted therapeutics that focus on specific cellular pathways that are associated with dysfunction in PAH patients. 

Fat-free Pasta Salad
Contributed by: Kate McGoey-Smith
This is a healthy, fat-free delicious pasta salad—easy to pack for lunch or serve at home! This recipe can be served hot or cold. Recipe is for for 8 1-cup servings.

2 cups dry pasta spirals (whole grain)
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1/2 cup red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 15 oz can of quartered artichoke hearts (water-packed), drained and rinced to reduce sodium
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 15 oz can of dark kidney besns, drained
1 cup non-fat italian salad dressing (Kraft - makes a non-fat version or replace with flavoured vinegar to reduce sodium)
Cook pasta according to directions, drain and rinse in cold water and place in large bowl. Add
remaining ingredients to pasta and toss to mix.
Optional Toppings: peas; corn; tomatoes; broccoli florets.
Recipe courtesy of which offers nutrition and cooking workshops to promote better health!! Contact Kate McGoey-Smith for questions 403-519-9261.
The Pulse 

Community Events: click to read more!

Nov. 05-11: Second Annual Run/Walk, Swim or Bike/Spin PH Challenge, BWG Leisure Centre, Bradford, ON. Come participate in this week-long Run/Walk, Swim or Bike/Spin Challenge raising funds for Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada: Toronto Chapter.

Nov 07: Trivia Fun Pub and Grub Night, Pic-a-Deli Restaurant, Oakville, ON
The Toronto Chapter presents Trivia Fun, Pub & Grub Night on Saturday November 7, 2015 starting at 5:00pm at Pic-a-Deli Restaurant (670 Fourth Line, Oakville, ON L6L 5B4) Compete with other teams by testing your knowledge on current events!

Nov 07: 6-Minute Walk for Breath and PH Support Group Meeting, Ottawa Heart Institute, Ottawa, ON. The Ottawa PH Support Group will be hosting a 6-Minute Walk for Breath on Saturday November 7th at the Ottawa Heart Institute. 

Nov. 12: Pulmonary Hypertension Day, BWG Leisure Centre, Bradford, ON. The BWG Leisure Centre is organizing the Pulmonary hypertension Day on Thursday  November 12, starting at 10am.

Nov. 16: Everleigh's PH Awareness Day, West Lorne, ON. November 16 is PHighter Everleigh’s birthday and she and her mom, Ambassador Kerry Pierce, will hold a PH information booth at Everleigh’s school

Nov. 18: 
Third Annual DINE for the CAUSEBiagio’s Italian Kitchen, Ottawa, ON.
PHA Canada's Ottawa Chapter has joined forces with the Ottawa branch of the Lung Association and Biagio's kitchen to organize the third annual  "DINE for the CAUSE" Dinner on Tuesday, November 17, 2015.

Hosting a PH event that you’d like us to publicize? Submit your event for our events calendar and we'll include it in The Pulse!

PH Counsellor Services
If you are experiencing emotional challenges tied to PH, we invite you to consult our PH Counselling resources including our PH Support Line and our PH Counsellor Webinars. To learn more about the PH counsellor services visit
PH Support Line
Our PH Counsellor, Alyson Quinn, offers brief psychosocial support over the phone to the members of our community (patients, caregivers, friends and family) who are faced with a particular PH-related emotional challenge. Our free and confidential PH support line is now open.

Call 1-800-742-0159 
Support Line is open Mondays:
PST: 12–2:30 p.m. 
MST: 1–3:30 p.m.
CST: 2-4:30 p.m.
EST: 3-5:30 p.m.
AST: 4-6:30 p.m.

PH Counsellor Webinars
You are your own best healer. To heal emotionally, it’s really helpful if you are able to take charge of your process. The webinars featuring PH Counsellor Alyson Quinn give you tools and ideas to learn about emotional wellness and self-healing. View our PH Counsellor Webinars.

Reflections from Alyson
Our PH Counsellor will address emotional issues that may concern you as a member of the PH community in the Pulse. You can submit a topic of interest that you would like to see her discuss by filling out our online form here.

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