Team PHenomenal Hope Partners With Pittsburgh Power

By: Chuck Finder

The female athletes in uniform tonight at the Pittsburgh Power game won’t be peddling Arena Football, but rather showing why – and how – they plan to pedal across the United States for a cause.

With mountains still to climb and hundreds of thousands of miles still to go to raise awareness of pulmonary hypertension (PH), Team PHenomenal Hope will provide one of the highlights to UPMC Sports Medicine Night at the Consol Energy Center for this 7 p.m. Power-Jacksonville Sharks game. 

“We will be busy,” said Patricia George, M.D., a UPMC pulmonologist who specializes in PH as well as lung transplantation. . . when she isn’t preparing with the cycling team for the 2014 Race Across America. “In addition to being seen in a fantastic video spot on the scoreboard produced by UPMC and being present on the field, we will have an eye-catching display upstairs in Consol Energy Center along with a team of amazing volunteers helping us reach out and answer questions about PH, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association and Team PHenomenal Hope.

“This is our first major outreach event in the general Pittsburgh community, and we see this as an outstanding opportunity to raise awareness about PH, a disease for which there is no cure. We are excited to tell people about Team PHenomenal Hope, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association and PH. By the end of 2014, it is our goal that Pittsburghers – and people far beyond – know about pulmonary hypertension, and this is a first step.”

All fans tonight will receive a Power/UPMC Sports Medicine cap and a portion of the tickets sold through a specialoffer will go to Team PHenomenal Hope. Tickets also can be purchased by calling the Power Ticket Office at 412-697-7846 and mentioning Team PHenomenal Hope.

“We’d be lying if we didn’t acknowledge that maybe it is a little crazy,” Dr. George joked of building up to a nine-day endurance race that covers far more than the 2,700-mile event distance, a trek one-third longer than the famed Tour de France. “But this team – from the riders and chiefs to our sponsors and supporters – has the discipline, confidence and passion to do this. We consider it an extreme privilege to take on this challenge, training and racing for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, and ride in honor of people living with PH. We believe that together we can make an impact in raising PH awareness and funding to find a cure.”

Toward that end, still a year away, team members spent the past five months training indoors every weekend at Cycling Fusion in Oakmont. Their hectic spring schedule includes a 13-hour solo mountain bike race in April, the Ohio Mountain Bike Championship series and a six-hour road race plus a nine-hour mountain bike race in May, plus of course cycling as a support team for the May 5 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon.  Three-fourths of the team will be cycling, that is, while teammate Anne-Marie Alderson will run the half-marathon.
Check out this spot about Team PHenomenal Hope, which will air during tonight’s game.