A Flower Mound woman has created a support group for people in the southern Denton County area suffering from pulmonary hypertension after she saw firsthand how important it is for people with the disease to have supporters.
Adriana Araya, 58, has had heart issues for as long as she can remember, “but doctors didn’t know what I had, so I went through a series” of different treatments until 2012, when she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, a chronic disease that causes high blood pressure in the lungs, according to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association.
“I don’t wish it on anybody,” Araya said. “It takes away your oxygen, you can’t breathe, you can’t take two steps without feeling like you’re suffocating.”
Araya said it was especially tough to go through when she didn’t know anyone else who had the same condition.
“It was very lonely, a dark road for me,” Araya said. “If not for my church and my family, I don’t think I’d have been able to pull through. It would have been better if I had people who had already been there, to tell me about it.”
Araya said she found a small support group based in Dallas that has most of its meetings in Fort Worth, which is extremely far for Araya, who doesn’t drive on highways. So instead, she has created a support group closer to home for people in Denton County called Cling 2 Hope. She envisions other pulmonary hypertension patients coming together for meetings where they can share their experiences and comfort each other.
Araya said she relied on her family, friends and faith to persevere.
“I told myself, ‘You need to fight against this, you need to be able to help others,'” Araya said. “I want to let people know, ‘You’re going to get through this, but it’ll be hard.'”
The experience has helped Araya learn a powerful life lesson, she said.
“It teaches you to value life,” she said. “I get up now and I see the sunshine and I hear the birds sing. I pay more attention to life now than before.”
If you are interested in Cling 2 Hope, contact Araya at firstname.lastname@example.org.