Nicholas Sharp had a simple mission: He wanted to raise awareness about a rare lung disease, pulmonary hypertension.
It was a simple mission, but a very personal one. According to medical reports, pulmonary hypertension, or PH, affects 1 to 2 people in every 1 million in the United States and Europe.
And, Sharp is one of them.
“PH is rare disease and not many people know about it, unless they have it,” Sharp said.
In order to help raise that awareness about the disease, Sharp had an idea. He wanted to reach out to his local city councilman and see if the city would consider making the month of November Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month.
In his letter, Sharp detailed his struggles with PH.
“I have a rare disease called Pulmonary Hypertension,” Sharp wrote. “It is a lung disease that causes heart failure. PH is high blood pressure in the lungs. PH makes it hard for me to breathe and be able to keep up when playing with my friends. I have to wear oxygen sometimes when it gets too hard to breathe because my lungs are very damaged from having PH for such a long time. This disease causes lots of people, including kids like me, to need lung transplants and sometimes heart transplants too.”
In his letter, Sharp shared the need to build awareness of the disease.
“Pulmonary hypertension sometimes isn’t caught right away because at first some of the symptoms make doctors think that it’s asthma or another common disease,” he wrote. “This isn’t good because PH can get very bad fast without medicine.”
Sharp’s letter made an impact.
At the Nov. 7 meeting of the Virginia Beach City Council, Mayor Will Sessoms presented Sharp with a city resolution officially recognizing November as Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month.
“(It’s) really cool,” Sharp said after the meeting.
Sharp added that he was excited to receive the resolution. As he wrote in his letter, getting a resolution would “mean a lot to me and the other people with PH.”
“It’s important to me to spread awareness so that people get diagnosed sooner,” he wrote.
To see the full resolution presentation, visit vbgov.com.