Into Thin Air: Phil Huston
Phil Huston is no stranger to danger. As a professional climber and athlete, he’s flirted with steep cliffs and clambered across sheer drops daunting enough to freeze the breath in your lungs. One day in 2008, Huston was hiking when he slipped off of frozen ground into a jagged boulder, crushing three of his ribs. But sharp rocks and frigid weather were not the real danger.
A subsequent X-Ray revealed that a tumor lurked within Huston’s right lung, undetected until now. As an athlete and non-smoker, Huston was stunned at the finding. A skilled team of surgeons successfully removed the tumor and a portion of his lung, but now the hardest part laid before Huston: re-learning how to breath.
With a lung and a half and complications from COPD, Huston was afraid that his life as an athlete was over. Luckily, a skilled team of respiratory therapists and other practitioners were able to breathe life back into his rock climbing career, “I’m lucky I had a great medical team including some talented respiratory therapists who understood me and matched up with my drive to recover.” Expert instruction and excellence in care allowed Huston to return to belaying and bouldering, “I’m here because the RT’s helped me get back here.”
Respiratory therapists make a powerful difference like this every day. Please share Phil’s story on your favorite social channels to join us in celebrating and elevating the profession of respiratory care.
Huston demonstrating his climbing ability.
Unstoppable: Brianna Collichio’s Television Commercial, 2022
Some dreams, it seems, are just bulletproof and nothing could stop the song in Brianna’s heart. She started out singing in her hometown, in the gazebo, in church, but before you know it, she was performing for the NFL, singing the national anthem for the Jets, and auditioning for American Idol.
You can imagine how proud Kim is of Brianna’s perseverance and success. Kim’s life journey has taken her on a different path now, and she was not available to participate in the filming of Brianna’s story, but her influence in Brianna’s life is something that lives on to this day. One patient, one life she touched, and changed forever. One dream that had a chance to come true.
Jill, who stepped in to help us tell Brianna’s story from the perspective of a respiratory therapist, confirmed just how incredible it is to see someone with cystic fibrosis sing on a national stage – to be able to sing at all. She agrees that Brianna’s respiratory therapist did a great job and was instrumental in bulletproofing little Brianna’s dreams.
As Jill thinks about her own patients, she says: “They’re living their dream maybe because of a small piece that I did to help them succeed. It’s heartwarming.”
Respiratory therapists can have a tremendous influence on the lives of their patients. Few careers are as critically important or meaningful as this.
“If you’re thinking about being a respiratory therapist, I would 100 percent encourage that,” Brianna says. “It makes such a difference in the lives of people like me. Without my respiratory therapist I probably would not be here.”
Respiratory therapists make a powerful difference like this every day. Please share Brianna’s story on your favorite social channels to join us in celebrating and elevating the profession of respiratory care.
Brianna Collichio recreating a visit with her respiratory therapist for the television spot.
Each life, looking back, might have taken a different course, but for the intervention of certain special people. Growing up with cystic fibrosis – with several breathing treatments a day and regular hospital stays – is not the life a little girl dreams of living. Brianna Collichio was two when she met her first respiratory therapist. Enter Kim: a respiratory therapist with a very special mission.
“She was so positive and motivating and fun – and she has adorable dogs,” Brianna says. “Over time, my respiratory therapist became more than a respiratory therapist, she became a friend, and she is definitely a fan of my singing.”
Singing? For most patients with cystic fibrosis, breathing can be a challenge – singing an absolute impossibility. But Brianna loves to sing and always has. She is also really good at it.