World Pulmonary Hypertension Day 2017
Ever since the first World Pulmonary Hypertension Day (WPHD) on 5 May 2012, our important annual milestone has been used to combine and highlight our international efforts to raise awareness of, and support for, patients with PH. This year it was clear that WPHD has grown into a spectacular celebration of our community’s work, and we reached more people with our campaigns than ever before. As in previous years, the PHA Europe WPHD 2017 theme was “Get breathless for PH”. Healthy people were encouraged to take part in high-energy sports and activities to get breathless, demonstrating their solidarity with people with PH who struggle to breathe. Part of our mission is to continue to highlight that patients with PH often endure life-changing physical limitations every day.
This year, 35 associations from 30 countries took part in WPHD across Europe, with many more worldwide. It is always amazing to see the creativity of the events organised by the different patient associations for WPHD, and 2017 was no different in this regard. As a result of the great work of our member associations, in Europe alone, over 1 million people attended a total of 58 events, which generated an impressive 425 pieces of media coverage: 16 press agencies, 61 print articles, 225 online media, 77 TV clips and 37 radio announcements, reaching millions of people across Europe. Innovative sporting events ranged from American football training in Poland to indoor climbing in Bulgaria, involving a wide variety of celebrities, sporting legends, experts and journalists to support and publicise the events (almost 200 in total). For the first time, Portugal was supported by famous athletes, who helped to promote the WPHD events through their own social media channels, resulting in the best attended event they have ever held for WPHD. Ukraine’s PH Urda invited influential doctors, lawyers and patients to a roundtable event to discuss organ donation in Ukraine. Creative awareness campaigns engaged a younger audience with a break dance battle and BMX cycle show in Belarus and recording of a dance video in Spain. Astonishing feats of physical endurance were undertaken by extraordinary individuals this year. Marina Lazic and Jovica Spajic of Serbia pushed themselves to the physical limit in the Sahara Race, the hardest ultra marathon in the world, with Jovica placing first in her age category. One of our Cypriot patient association members joined 10 fellow lung transplant patients and their medical teams, to climb to the top of the Kilimanjaro (5.895 m) as part of a scientific expedition, organised by the Vienna Lung Transplant Centre. Their intention was to show the level of fitness and quality-of-life they had regained as a result of their transplants. Climbers from Bosnia and Herzegovina reached the top of Muztagh Ata, 7.546 m, in China, flying the WPHD flag, to show their solidarity with PH patients. Read more about WPHD 2017 in the Summer edition of our Mariposa Journal at Mariposa News Summer 2017 (PDF).
Getting ready for World PH Day 2017
With just one month to go to May 5 and building on everyone’s amazing effort and success last year, we have some exciting new plans to generate even more noise around WPHD 2017 this year.
The WPHD 2017 theme will be, as in past years, around sports and high energy activities, with the slogan “GET BREATHLESS FOR PH”. The idea is that people who are healthy conduct high energy activities which make them breathless, in solidarity for patients, who struggle to breathe. This also serves to highlight the physical limitations patients experience in their daily lives.
Our very comprehensive media toolkit, developed to support the associations in preparing for their events with tips and guidance as well as artwork and visuals, is available at this link.
Here is an update on our WPHD activities:
Thunderclap: this year’s campaign has been set up together with PHA USA and the PH Latin Society. Last year we managed to have (PHA Europe and the Latin Society working separately) over 3 million reach, this year we can potentially have even greater numbers! Join here, we count on your support!
Facebook page: a dedicated WPHD Facebook page has been created and it will be administered jointly by PHA Europe, PHA USA and the PH Latin Society. This will serve as a common platform to post photos of WPHD events around the world. If you have not yet “liked” it, here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/worldphday/
WPHD website: this has been completely restyled by the PHA and is looking great. It will be also be administered jointly by PHA Europe, PHA USA and the PH Latin Society www.worldphday.org
Global Wave: PHA Europe, PHA USA and the PH latin Society have also agreed to promote together a new initiative called the “Global Wave”, where we will be collecting photos of people holding their hands up in the shape of a butterfly (to symbolise the lungs, as in our logo). Make sure to add the hashtag #GlobalWave4PH
WPHD app: Steve Wormer from phaware.com has designed a great new app which has been launched together with PHA Europe to post selfies, add WPHD stickers and share on social media! The app is available free from App Store and Google Play http://www.phaware.global/phaware365
More news on all these new initiatives soon!