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Meet Joanne Sperando-Schmidt


Research Will Produce a Benefit in Our Lifetime

Joanne Sperando-Schmidt was 34 years old and planning a family when shortness of breath and heart palpitations made it impossible for her to walk up the small hill to her home. Unlike many pulmonary hypertension patients who are misdiagnosed at first, Joanne knew she had PH: her brother John had been diagnosed three years earlier, and her aunt died from PH.

The one approved pulmonary hypertension drug saved her brother’s life, and after her diagnosis, Joanne entered a clinical trial for the second PH drug. Today, 20 years after John was diagnosed, there are fourteen approved drugs. But PH remains a difficult disease.

“Not everyone responds to these drugs,” Joanne says. And for those that do, the side effects—jaw, foot, and joint pain, flushing, stomach problems—are often debilitating.

“There is a sense of not feeling well, of fatigue,” says Joanne, who developed colitis, ending her corporate banking career and then making it impossible to work altogether.

“PH patients believe in research,” she says, adding that the annual Long Island walk she helps organize has raised over $500,000 for research. “It’s important to ‘hook’ young investigators on our cause.”

Thank you, Joanne, for sharing your story!

Building a future where patients breathe better

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