Longtime PHA member and enthusiast Diego Gil came all the way from Colombia this month to visit PHA headquarters and several PHA events in order to pick up some new ideas for his own young association, the Asociación Colombiana de Hipertensión Pulmonar (ACHPA). ACHPA is only one year old, and consists of a support group in Cali, led by long-time support group leader Diego, a support group in Medellín, led by Karen Narvaez, and a group in Bogotá, led by the president of the association, Francisco Castellanos.
At PHA’s headquarters, Diego had one-on-one meetings with each of the departments of PHA to learn about PHA’s methods in special events/fundraising, corporate and foundation funding, educational programing for patients and medical professionals, support groups and psychosocial health, and medical access advocacy. Diego also spent some time learning about the “Sometimes it’s PH” early diagnosis campaign, which he hopes to develop in Colombia and which is close to his heart, as he is doing well with his PH after 23 years due to his own early diagnosis at age eight.
Diego was also lucky enough to be able to see several events that PHA puts on in the community. He started off his visit to the U.S. in New York City, where he participated in the O2 Breathe Walk at South Street Seaport and took a lot of pictures to share in fundraising brainstorming back in Colombia. Since the Colombian association has been hoping to hold a patient education forum, Diego also went to the Boston “On the Road” event June 8, where he participated in several sessions as well as an event for support group leaders and a Generation Hope get-together.
Back in Colombia, Diego hopes to take what he learned back to other interested South American associations.
For a list of associations around the world, visit www.PHAssociation.org/PHInternational/PHAssociationsWorldwide
To read Diego’s journey with PH, visit www.PHAssociation.org/Community/OurJourneys/DiegoGil