By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A teenage girl in the metro is living with a hole in her heart, but her passion for fighting her Pulmonary Hypertension fulfills her.
Lauren Johnson is practicing for her driving test like most 16-year-olds, but over the last few months, not only has she been learning how to drive, she's been learning about Pulmonary Hypertension, a disease which she was diagnosed with at the age of three.
"It was finally about three o'clock in the morning. I was asking if it was time to go yet, and they said, ‘No,'" Johnson said.
The doctors warned her parents they had a very sick child.
Johnson and her family didn't hold back growing up. Lauren just lagged behind a bit on the slopes, but she was okay.
Her illness worsened, this year and she's now on an intense medication.
"I feel different," Johnson said. "I'm not able to go to school, I would love to be going to school all the time with all my friends. I can't run around church, and all that stuff, but I know that I am different and I just have to do what I can."
What Johnson can do is educate others.
With Pulmonary Hypertension, the pulmonary artery doesn't efficiently pump blood to the lungs for oxygenation.
Johnson has raised more than $12,000 at an event she organized, where artists painted and then auctioned their pieces.
"She just amazed me because, you just look at her, and her face lights up," Lauren Johnson's mother, Melissa Johnson said. "She has a passion for this and you've got to have a passion to really make a difference."
For Lauren Johnson, Pulmonary Hypertension doesn't seem to be life threatening. Instead, it's overwhelmingly encouraging.
"Sometimes, you just have to put a positive attitude to make yourself better," Lauren Johnson said. "You may not be better inside, but you can be better outside and show everybody that you can defeat it."
The money Lauren raised went to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association to educate and for research.