Angel Marshan is full of life, but in 2009 she found herself struggling to catch her breath. For the next three years, Angel suffered from increasing fatigue, and was eventually struggling even to finish a trip to the grocery store. “I scaled back on everything that I did. Walking around the block, riding my bike. Everything that I really liked to do in life, I couldn’t do anymore. I wasn’t living – I was existing.”
Angel turned to her love of movies to help her cope. “Movies are magic because they transport me into a different place, a different realm. Just to be able to live somebody else’s adventurous life was an absolute freedom to me. And at that time it was all the freedom I had.”
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In her quest for a diagnosis, Angel visited a cardiologist, who put her on a treadmill to test her stamina. She collapsed after just one minute, and the doctor diagnosed her as suffering from pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). PAH is a rare disease causing a narrowing of the arteries in the lungs, meaning the heart has to work harder to pump blood through them. It can lead to heart failure over time.
Although her diagnosis was alarming, it also gave Angel an option for treatment via a clinical trial, and fighting back has inspired Angel to help other people diagnosed with her condition. “I want others with PAH to know that you have options, and there is hope. If I can help one person get their life back… it’s all worth it.”