Keith James: Texas State Advocacy Captain

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I lost my grandmother from COPD (emphysema) when I was ten years old. I watched her progressively get worse over the years, and as a small child I didn’t understand why. My grandmother was in stage IV with a FEV1 of 27%. My last memory of her was in ICU on the ventilator. I held her hand and told her I would fight this disease so other families wouldn’t have to go through what our family did.

Remembering John W. Walsh I dedicated my life from that day forward to bring COPD awareness to families and friends. I’ve developed many novel medical modalities over the years to help patients with COPD and I have participated in several clinical studies to understand the importance of exercise with COPD patients to improve their quality of life.

My greatest accomplishment has been being asked by the Wounded Warrior Foundation to take one of our country’s heroes, from the Vietnam era, to his class reunion at West Point. Our veteran was unable to walk greater than 10 feet at a time without becoming short of breath. Our veteran wanted to be able to walk across the stage at West Point and receive an award that was given to him by his classmates with dignity. At the time, I was with a company that created a one pound wearable ventilator that was uniquely designed to provide positive pressure that significantly increased patient’s tidal volumes and improved ventilation. Our war hero was able to walk across the stage and accept his award and give a short speech to the crowded room full of decorated soldiers, family, and friends.

Everything starts with the first step towards your future. Have questions about advocacy and volunteering in your state? E-mail us at statecaptains@copdfoundation.org.

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