Remembering Nathan, Raising Awareness of PPH
Awareness is one of the most powerful things we can do for the many people who suffer around the world each day. The life of Nathan Matuszewicz, a victim of primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), serves as a catalyst for awareness of PPH. The University of Kentucky News reports that a 5K Benefit will take place on Aug. 22 in Lexington.
It is extraordinary to think that this is the 11th annual benefit to raise awareness of primary pulmonary hypertension as well as raising funds for Nathan’s Hope Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. This clinic was started by Nathan’s mother Lynette Crist after the devastating loss of Nathan in 1998 due to this pulmonary disease.
Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH)
Pulmonary hypertension is a relatively unknown and devastating medical condition. Pulmonary diseases refer to internal diseases having to do with the lungs and respiration. PPH is a unique pulmonary disease that has been linked to the drug Fen-Phen. Pulmonary hypertension causes the pulmonary arteries to narrow resulting in a closure or squeezing of the blood vessels. The main effect of this is the causing of a lack of blood and oxygen to enter and exit the lungs.
PPH results in a very slow closing of these arteries. One of many devastating aspects of this condition is that there is no way to permanently reopen these arteries. Many legal battles have been fought to hold the makers of Fen-Phen accountable for the many cases of primary pulmonary hypertension that have resulted from its use.
Nathan’s Battle with PPH
Nathan’s battle with PPH began in 1993, when he was only 3 years old. Nathan battled for five years until he died at the age of eight. “Nathan loved life so much,” said Crist to University of Kentucky News. “He never met a stranger and was always trying to make people smile…I am so happy to be able to be helping others in his memory this way.”
Nathan’s memory has done so much more than just raise awareness about this terrible condition. His memory has actively fought PPH through the establishment of research funds and the Nathan’s Hope Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic. Through events such as the Nathan’s Hope 5K Run/Walk, awareness is spreading and more people are given the opportunity to help those who suffer with this condition.