MEET ERICA – Better known as the PHighter!
Erica is currently 5 years old and in Junior Kindergarten. She is head strong, super smart, very artistic, and a very happy little girl.
Erica also has Pulmonary Hypertension.
If you have no idea what Pulmonary Hypertension is, check out the About PH page for a brief explanation.
Erica was officially diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (IPAH) on April 13, 2017.
This was devastating news to the Castrillon family, and they are taking everything one day at a time.
Pulmonary Hypertension has effected their family long before Erica’s diagnosis.
Erica’s mom is one of 3 siblings, the eldest of which lost her life to Pulmonary Hypertension one month before her 9th birthday.
Erica’s aunt, Stephanie, was diagnosed at the age of 3 with what they called at the time “Primary Pulmonary Hypertension”. This was in 1973.
At the time, Stephanie was given 1 year to live.
She lived for another five and a half years, when she finally lost her life to this terrible disease in 1978.
The effect of Stephanie’s loss was something that effected the family very profoundly, but her loss was not in vain.
In fact, Stephanie, has allowed us to have a fighting chance with Erica.
Pulmonary Hypertension is considered a terminal disease, and life expectancy after diagnosis is typically 2 to 3 years if left untreated.
This is mainly because it is difficult to diagnose and by the time it is the disease is already quite advanced.
Because of Stephanie, our doctors wisely recommended that we have all of our children screened.
Erica began showing elevated pressures (how PH is diagnosed) at the age of 2, and had been closely monitored.
She was finally diagnosed on April 13, 2017.
Since 1978 they have made a lot of progress in the way of treatment options.
Erica is under the care of the best Pediatric PH Clinic in the country, which currently treats around 200 patients across Canada.
We are hopeful that she will respond well to the treatment, and will continue to live a normal, healthy life.
The Castrillon Family have created a site as a type of “therapy” for them, to show Erica how many people care about her and follow her story, and to help other families who may also be dealing with this terrible disease.
Check out their Blog and please leave a comment and let Erica know how many people out there care about her, or are dealing with similar issues.