Friday, June 25, 2010

Obituary: Sharren Yamron / Started area support group for pulmonary illness

Jan. 25, 1956 - June 23, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010
By Anthony Fenech, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Early last decade, Sharren Yamron sat around a kitchen table with two others.

The three had been diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension, a rare and incurable disease of the lungs and heart, and the trio wanted a place to share their daily struggles.

Soon after, Ms. Yamron started a local support group, one that would eventually become the Pittsburgh chapter of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. Her hard work and dedication to the group is evident by the 100-plus people who attend meetings, giving them a collective voice for their experiences.

Ms. Yamron died of a stroke Wednesday after fighting multiple illnesses for many years. She was 54.

"She was an extraordinary woman and will be deeply missed," said Merle Reeseman, co-leader of the Pittsburgh PHA chapter. "Her strength and encouragement helped many people."

Born in Homestead, Ms. Yamron grew up in West Mifflin and graduated from South High School. She traveled to Colorado Springs, Colo., and returned to Pittsburgh shortly after, working at Horne's department store.

She then worked in the real estate industry for 10 years until her PH diagnosis in April 1993, when she started the support group.

"It gave her a purpose," said her son, Sam Yamron, of Wilkins. "She was very devoted to others, liked being busy, and could run this within her physical capabilities, and I truly believe her help with others helped herself."

Ms. Yamron would bring in doctors, nurses and other medical support staff to the group's meetings. Patients from across Western Pennsylvania travel to meetings.

But as the success of the chapter grew, she continued to fight her own medical challenges.

During a 17-year period, Ms. Yamron underwent two lung transplants, overcame breast cancer and battled a brain tumor.

"She had been written off more times than I think anyone can imagine," Mr. Yamron said. "They would tell her she had five more years, and she would stick her tongue out to that."

As a mother, he said, Ms. Yamron "was going to fight to make sure we were well taken care of." He said some of the most fond memories he has of his mother are of her sitting at a beach on vacation or conversing nightly at the dinner table.

Ms. Reeseman said there was no better example of encouragement for fighting the disease.

"She went through more than any person should have to go through," she said. "And she always did it with dignity and grace, while trying to help others."

In addition to her son, Ms. Yamron is survived by her husband, Lawrence; another son, T. Yamron, of Wilkins; and two grandchildren.

Visitation is 11 a.m. today with a noon service at Ralph Schugar Funeral Chapel, 5509 Centre Ave., Shadyside.

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