Harmonicas 4 Health: Duff Maynard's Story
The COPD Foundation’s Pulmonary
Education Program (PEP) is proud to
offer Harmonicas 4 Health (H4H), the
first nationwide harmonica program created
especially for individuals with COPD and
other chronic lung diseases. This program
was developed and launched due to the
generous support of ACM Lifting Lives, the
charitable arm of the Academy of Country
Duff Maynard, 66 years old, can attest to the
benefits of H4H. Originally from New York, Duff
moved to Tennessee, a state with the highest
rates of COPD in the country, 11 years ago. He is
a former smoker and also lives with asbestosis.
Duff first learned he had COPD about 10 years
ago and has been using a variety of medications
ever since. He has been through pulmonary
rehab for a year and a half ago and is an
active member of the Better Breathers Club in
Duff’s life after his diagnosis didn’t change
much initially, until 3 years ago when he
experienced his first exacerbation. Then
“I couldn’t golf of anymore,” he explained, “...
could barely walk in the stores. Most of my
regular activities (mowing the lawn, working in
the yard, painting, working on my car) ceased. I
just didn’t have the breath to do them.”
Then in early 2016, during one of the Better
Breathing Club meetings, H4H was presented
by Stephanie Williams of the COPD Foundation
who asked for volunteers for the pilot program.
Duff immediately joined as did many in his club.
“I’ve never played the harmonica before. I always
wanted to play a musical instrument and this
was a chance to do it. My wife joined also which
is great because we get to practice together and
support one another,” he said.
Duff has seen the positive impact of the
H4H program ever since. He knows the story
will continue, but shared several impressive
milestones that he has reached since joining
“I know this story will continue, but wanted to
share a few positive things happening to me
since joining the harmonica group a couple
Before the program, Duff struggled to exercise
and really had to push himself to get to the gym.
Now he can’t wait. He could only do 30 minutes
on the treadmill at 2.0 mph. Recently, he hit 60
minutes at 2.2, and now he can make it to 60
minutes at 2.5 mph. Before H4H, he could barely
make 30 minutes of weight training. Now he can
do 60 minutes with more weight. He works out
on the treadmill 3 days a week and weights the
other three, taking Sunday off.
Duff wears a Fitbit that he wears 23.5 hours a
day. His average resting heart rate has gone
from 90 bpm to 82, and he lost 11 pounds.
“Being part of H4H has changed my whole life. I
have more breath so I have more stamina. I can
do more and be active more hours of the day.
And the more active I am, the more active I can
Duff also explains how it has given him an outlet
to express himself and connect with others.
“I really enjoy the social aspect more than
anything. The people in the program have
fun, learn how to play an instrument and have
something to get out of the house for. [My wife]
Mary Ann and I are so thankful for H4H.”
If you are an individual with COPD or another
chronic lung disease, the COPD Foundation
Harmonicas for Health
program can help you:
- Learn how to have better control of your
- Exercise the muscles that help pull air in and
push air out of the lungs
- Strengthen abdominal muscles for a more
- Boost self-confidence, relieve stress
- Socialize with others and have fun
- Reported benefits include: decreased
shortness of breath, increased sputum
mobilization and increased quality of life.
You do not have to be an expert player or have
any musical experience to benefit from playing
the harmonica. You can take a harmonica
anywhere. It’s lightweight and easy to carry.
Making music with a harmonica can help you
feel better overall, and it is a lot of fun! Learn more about the Harmonicas 4 Health program here!