According to a story from radio.wpsu.org, soprano singer Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick recently passed away at the young age of 35 because of pulmonary arterial hypertension, a rare condition of increased blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. Although her life was cut tragically short, Charity left behind a legacy of optimism, warmth, and exceptional talent as a singer. She was also a noted organ donor advocate, having undergone two double lung transplants herself.
About Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)
Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs is abnormally high. The cause of pulmonary arterial hypertension is often unknown in many cases. However, there are a variety of potential causes, such as certain heritable genetic mutations, exposure to certain toxins, and drug use (ex. methamphetamine). It can also appear as a symptom or complication in a number of other diseases, such as heart disease, connective tissue disease, and infection with HIV. The arteries in the lungs are often inflamed. Symptoms of this condition include rapid heartbeat, poor exercise tolerance, shortness of breath, fainting, leg swelling, fatigue, and chest pain. Treatment may include a number of medications and surgical operations, including lung transplant. A transplant can cure the condition, but it can cause many complications. Survival rate is often only about two or three years without treatment, but the latest drugs can prolong life by several years or more. Click here to learn more about pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Charity was diagnosed with the condition from a young age. Despite her treatments, she had numerous emergency room visits and other close calls because of her pulmonary arterial hypertension. Although she was well-regarded for her abilities as a singer, Charity never let it go to her head and was quick to acknowledge the people that helped her along her path, such as her family and medical personnel.
When she wasn’t singing live, Charity recorded several studio albums and even wrote a musical. Even though she knew that her condition would ultimately shorten her life, Charity refused to live in fear.