Monday 12 October 2015

Hoofbeats Don't Always Mean Horses

Hello and welcome to the first day of Karen Burniston's October 2015 Designer Challenge: Characters in Costume.  I thought this would be the perfect time to create a purple Zebra card and share some information about Pulmonary Hypertension. Now this is a long post, with lots of information. As a thank you for reading it and raising awareness for Pulmonary Hypertension, Elizabeth Craft Designs has generously donated a GIVE-AWAY of the Barn Pop Stand, Fence Pop Stand, Western Edges and Cocoa the Horse. Wow!! Keep reading to see how you can win these dies!

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that our 4 year old Granddaughter Olivia was diagnosed with advanced Pulmonary Hypertension last September.  I hope you will spend a few minutes today and read my whole post.  Pulmonary Hypertension can strike anyone regardless of age, sex, social or ethnic background. You may learn something that will help get someone you know early treatment, which is critical.

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a rare but very complex and serious lung disease, which is progressive and fatal. PH is defined by high blood pressure in the lungs, which leads to enlargement and weakness of the right-side of the heart, a serious type of heart failure.

PH is difficult to diagnose because it shares many of its symptoms with other conditions. Because of this, many people are misdiagnosed. Without treatment, the average life expectancy of a PH patient is less than three years. Ironically, many patients spend 2-3 years of their life seeking an accurate diagnosis.

It is estimated that approximately 5,000 Canadians have been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, but as many as 10,000 may be affected by the condition. Currently, there exists no cure for this disease, but nine PH-specific treatment options have been approved by Health Canada since 1997. Thanks to these advancements, many PH patients are living longer and healthier lives. There are innumerable stories of PH patients beating the odds and living with the disease for 10, 20, or even 30 years!

We hope and Pray our Olivia can beat even those odds.

Why does a Zebra have anything to do with such a devastating disease? The Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada helped me with that question:

"Among healthcare providers, the zebra is a metaphor for an unexpected diagnosis or rare condition. When first learning how to reach a diagnosis, young medical professionals are taught, "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras." Through this example medical students are encouraged to first think of the more common, and therefore more likely, diagnosis. 

This logic makes sense, most of the time, but also helps to partly explain why PH is often misdiagnosed as other more common diseases (such as Asthma) which share symptoms with PH." You can watch a short video and find more information about this on our early diagnosis site:

Here is the front of my card. Since periwinkle is the colour for PH, I was happy to have found purple zebra striped paper!! The barn from the Barn Pop Stand set works perfectly as a flat barn as well, so that is how I used it here.

Inside, I used the Fence Pop Stand and turned Cocoa the Horse into a Purple Zebra. For a chance to win both of these dies as well as the Western Edges and the Barn Pop Stand, please COMMENT, LIKE and SHARE my Purple Zebra Card on Facebook. You can find me on FB here.  Not on Facebook? Pin my card and leave me a comment here letting me know what Pinterest board you pinned it to. We want to raise awareness about Pulmonary Hypertension and you can help with that! I will use a random number generator to choose the winner, on Friday October 16th at 9pm MST. (One entry per person, please).

I am loving the new Soft Finish Card Stock from Elizabeth Craft Designs, so used it to create the card base. All the colour was added using PanPastels. For the inner card, the mountains were cut from the top and the hills from the bottom. The inside of the front panels create the edges for the sun and sky, as well as the grassy area.

Looking after a Special Needs child requires a lot of work. PH is one of those 'Invisible Diseases' and is quite isolating for the family. While they were able to join us for Thanksgiving Dinner this weekend - most times they miss family get togethers because Olivia is so susceptible to illness and they need to keep her away from people with colds etc. I like to make our daughter and her husband Love Notes so they know we support them with all our hearts.

THANK YOU for hanging in and reading all the information here.

Also, Thank you to Karen Burniston for being so supportive and letting me shine the spotlight on Pulmonary Hypertension in my Designer Challenge Post. Last but not least, Thank you to Els and Elizabeth Craft Designs for offering this amazing give-away!

Below are a couple of pictures of Olivia, and some important links for Pulmonary Hypertension. I've included links for the countries of my Designer Challenge Teammates as well:

Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada
We accept different types of donations. All the information can be found here: 
They are also in the middle of a membership drive and offering free memberships as a way to show support for the PH community. We encourage all those who want to show their support to sign up as a PH Supporter:

Pulmonary Hypertension Association USA

Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK

Pulmonary Hypertension Association Australia

When you have PH, you can go from this (above) to this (below) in a matter of hours.

Card Supplies:
Cocoa the Horse, Pop it Ups - Karen Burniston (Elizabeth Craft Designs)
Fence Pop Stand, Pop it Ups - Karen Burniston (Elizabeth Craft Designs)
Barn Pop Stand, Pop it Ups - Karen Burniston (Elizabeth Craft Designs)
Western Edges (mountains), Pop it Ups - Karen Burniston (Elizabeth Craft Designs)
Beach Edges (hills), Pop it Ups - Karen Burniston (Elizabeth Craft Designs)
Outdoor Edges (grass), Pop it Ups - Karen Burniston (Elizabeth Craft Designs)
Hay There Pop Stand, Pop it Ups - Karen Burniston (Elizabeth Craft Designs)
Flourished Gift Frame (rectangle), Pop it Ups - Karen Burniston (Elizabeth Craft Designs) COMING SOON
Elizabeth Craft Designs Transparent Double Sided Adhesive, 6" and 1/8" widths
Black Velvet Adhesive Sheet - Elizabeth Craft Designs
Fine Point Tweezers - Elizabeth Craft Designs
Pan Pastels, #1, #2 and #3 - Elizabeth Craft Designs
Hairspray (to set the pastels)
Purple Zebra patterned paper - The Paper Studio
Grey Card stock
Periwinkle card stock
Black card stock
Fun Foam
Scrap of yellow card stock
Computer & printer
Soft Finish Card Stock (100#) - Elizabeth Craft Designs

Thanks for stopping by today


  1. What a model of strength your family is for others afflicted by PH. Olivia is a special little girl surrounded by a very special family. Much love to you all!

  2. Beautiful granddaughter. My prayers that a cure is found before too long.
    It's amazing what the medical community has come up with lately.
    My love to you and Olivia.

  3. Hi Karen,beautiful card,very original!

  4. Thank you for sharing this story. I personally had never heard of PH but I can relate to having a condition that isn't properly diagnosed or effectively treated. I pray that the treatments enable your precious Olivia to thrive in this life! Your purple zebra card is adorable and I will forever associate zebras (think purple) with PH. I'll find you on FB and share this story to help raise awareness.

    1. Donna Gibson! I had to pick another name for the prize, since I haven't heard from the original winner. Your's was the lucky number!! Please email me at karen . aicken @ gmail dot com (no spaces) with your address and I'll forward it onto Elizabeth Craft Designs. Congratulations, and thank you for the lovely comment.

  5. I love how gorgeous the inside your card looks from above and how you took the medical axiom and turned it around!
    I have an aunt with PH and it has to be even more difficult for such a little one!! Thanks for the awareness post... Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers...

    fb would only let me share.

  6. like your card and best wishes to Olivia!

  7. Warm Greetings for Olivia from the Netherlands with love....

    Anita Izendoorn design team Elizabeth Craft Designs

  8. love the purple zebra and the meaning behind it. Olivia is such a sweet little girl, best wishes to her and all your family.

  9. Oh so sorry about Olivia!!! Shes beautiful!!! I posted on facebook for you!!! Ill put her in my prayers....

  10. Your Granddaughter is a beautiful child. I will keep Olivia and all of your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. Cute card and beautiful brave little girl.

  12. I will keep little Olivia in my prayers. I too am a zebra but it is for a debilitating connective tissue disease called Ehlers Danlos. My son also has it and I know how hard it is when your child is suffering. Stay strong, mom and know that you will be in my prayers too. It is worse to have your child suffering rather than you having the illness yourself. My heart goes out to you.

  13. Blessings to you and yours and most importantly, Olivia. Thank you for all the information.

  14. It is devastating when a disease such as this strikes a young child. Hopefully thru research and awareness, a cure will be foound. I am sure Olivia loves Gramma's beautiful cards.
    Carol b

  15. Oh my what a beautiful little girl, I am so sorry she has this terrible condition. I will keep her and your whole family in my prayers. Sending her positive thoughts. God Bless her!!!!

  16. Olivia you are a brave and strong little girl. I will keep you and all of your family in my prayers. You are a very beautiful little girl. Hang in there sweetheart!!!

  17. grandma012@sbcglobal.net14 October 2015 at 16:51

    That is stinking adorable. Prayers for Olivia.

  18. Thanks for sharing.Your grandaughter is so cute, love her smile.

  19. Thank you for sharing this information on PH. Prayers for you and Olivia and all your family. Your message will reach a lot of people and educate them to this disease. I have pinned your beautiful work of art to;

  20. Karen, your granddaughter is beautiful! Hope she is better soon.

  21. Your granddaughter is beautiful. Hope she is better soon.

  22. Karen, your granddaughter is beautiful.

  23. After spending my life as an RT in a hospital, I never cease being amazed at the bravery of children. At her age, Olivia will live to see a cure, God willing. For now she is a member of an army of fearless children.

  24. After spending my life as an RT in a hospital, I never cease being amazed at the bravery of children. At her age, Olivia will live to see a cure, God willing. For now she is a member of an army of fearless children.

  25. Praying for your lovely granddaughter and a CURE. WOW never new about the zebra metaphor. I totally understand what your going thru. Sending healing vibes your way!

  26. Best wishes to your beautiful granddaughter. Your zebra card is beautiful.

  27. As much information about a disease I did not know so far, thank you for that. I hope your little granddaughter gets the chance for many more years to live, despite PH and to make the best of it. With your posting you'll still be many people contact about this disease and inform. Thank you enlighten us about that.
    I want to make more people aware of this posting, so I pint it on
    with best wishes for Olivia and your family with all my heart

  28. Wishing good things for your grand daughter. Pinned your wonderful card. Love how you incorporated the medical by play. thanks as always for sharing.

  29. Thank you for sharing your story and letting more people know about this disease. Your granddaughter is just the cutest thing. Her and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!!
    I love your card and it is so stinkin' adorable!!

  30. I read your blog and thank you for sharing the information. There are so many lung diseases which most people know nothing about. So it is important that we learn of them for early diagnosis. My thoughts and prayers are with your beautiful granddaughter and your entire family. I love the zebra card. How perfect to find the purple zebra paper.

  31. I will never look at zebras in the same way. Blessings to Dear Olivia and her loving family.

  32. What beautiful horses and what a strong granddaughter, she is strong than she knows with all the love, support and prayers she is getting every day!!

  33. Thoughts with you. Your cards are lovely as always.

  34. This disease is just plain awful. Your granddaughter is in my prayers. May GOD bless her with his healing. Hugs to you and your family. Love the zebra card - it is truly an inspiration for people to not give up and keep fighting.

  35. This is an amazing example of strength and courage. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.
    Thank you for sharing your amazing work with all of us.

    1. Woo Hoo! You are the winner of the prize package, so generously donated by Elizabeth Craft Designs. Please email me at karen . aicken @ gmail . com (no spaces) with your name and mailing address and I'll forward that information onto ECD. Congratulations, and thank you for taking the time to leave such a sweet comment as well.

    2. Adding to my reply, since I now know that everyone who left a comment on my blog is receiving the comment feed. The winner of the prize package is 2boyzmom. Please email me at karen . aicken @ gmail . com (no spaces) with your name and mailing address. Congratulations, 2boyzmom!

    3. 2boyzmom, I have not yet heard from you regarding the Karen Burniston Pop it Up die prize package from Elizabeth Craft Designs, Please email me at karen . aicken @ gmail . com (no spaces) by noon MST on October 20th. Otherwise, I will have to draw another name. Thanks!

  36. Certainly a beautiful child, I do trust and pray that she will respond to treatment. I love the cards and will now think of PH whenever I see pictures of zebras.


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