COPD Foundation Blog

Find inspirational stories, tips from the COPD Coach, events, and current news on the COPD community blog. Have a question regarding COPD that you would like to share with our community? Contact our COPD Coach. Coaches Corner is aimed at providing information for individuals with COPD to take to your doctor, and is not in any way intended to be medical advice. If you would like to submit a question to the Coaches Corner email us at We would love to hear your questions and comments.

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Archive: June 2016

An Amazing Journey to the Top of the World

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This blog post was written by Janina Kowalski, Associate Director of Development at the COPD Foundation.

It is June 2016 and Chase Hinckley is making his way towards the world’s second highest mountain, K2. A foreboding mountain on the China-Pakistan border, K2 sits at an elevation of 28,251 ft. It’s a uniquely challenging mountain that has only seen 306 people summit its peak and never during the winter.

Climbing the K2 for COPD K2 sits about 800 feet below Mt. Everest but unlike it, features very little flat terrain. K2 is a very difficult and technical climb; the mountain is a cone of ice and limestone with 45-degree angles. It is considered a harder climb than Everest because it is a steep mountain with unpredictable weather.

To put it simply, K2 is the ultimate challenge. For Chase Hinckley, climbing K2 is not only a challenge of his own personal limits, but an opportunity to raise funds for COPD.

Why is Chase Hinckley climbing K2 for COPD? For Chase, COPD hits close to home. His grandmother has been living with COPD for years and he’s been touched by her struggle.

Chase is no stranger to mountains; he’s scaled Denali, Mt. Rainier, and Kilimanjaro. Chase feels that his experiences mountaineering has given him a unique perspective in what it is like to struggle for air.

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Tags: climbing COPD awareness K2 savage mountain
Categories: Personal Stories

A Look at COPD from a Child's Eye

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We are all aware of the impact COPD has on the patient- the shortness of breath, fatigue, exacerbations, social isolation, and daily struggles are ever-present. But how does COPD affect those who bear witness to their loved one’s hardship? What are some of the challenges that caregivers, friends, and families experience? 300 million individuals live with COPD worldwide, but millions more lives are touched in one way or another by the disease.

The COPD Foundation worked with storytelling agency Make Believe UK and Novartis to create an new animated short called, “A Child’s Eye” to give viewers a glimpse into life with COPD from a loved one’s perspective. The story follows a young child in who slowly comes to grips with the reality of his grandfather’s COPD diagnosis. Activities they once enjoyed were no longer shared, with every missed event marked by a note from his grandfather wishing he were there. The story takes a positive turn when the child’s grandfather receives the education, community support, and treatment he needs. COPD is not a death sentence- early diagnosis, pulmonary rehabilitation, education, and support are all factors that can lend a new lease on life.

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Tags: A Child's Eye animation caregiving Make Believe UK
Categories: Related COPD News

How to Stay Mobile with COPD

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Dear COPD Coach,
My wife has COPD, which appears to be getting worse. One of the things we loved to do was to go to craft fairs, which is much more difficult now. Someone suggested that we get a mobility scooter for her to use. Are mobility scooters paid for by Medicare? Also, I went on eBay and found several for a very reasonable price. Are these worth buying?

—How to Stay Mobile

Dear Mobile,
Medicare most generally will not pay for a mobility scooter, but often will pay for a mobility chair to be used in the home. Be very vigilant! There are companies out there who will claim that Medicare will pay for a scooter or mobility chair. They get you to sign a contract, which in the small print says that if they are not able to get payment from Medicare, you are responsible for the entire amount. This can result in you paying installments for a very long time at high interest rates. Do not sign any contract until you have had it reviewed by a legal professional!

Mobility with COPD When looking at scooters to purchase, there are some things to keep in mind. Many if not most of the scooters you find on sites like eBay are imported. While they may work for a while, there are no service centers or parts available to fix them if they break down. Scooters (and mobility chairs) are somewhat complex and not usually able to be fixed by the average user. When something goes wrong, the fault is usually electrical and most often requires a replacement part. There are some excellent companies out there who offer quality chairs and scooters that have service and parts available.

The first thing you need to do is your homework.

  • Does the scooter have enough range for your intended use? Some scooters only offer a range of just a few miles, while some offer ranges in excess of 20 miles.
  • Will the scooter work on the type of terrain you are likely to encounter? Many scooters do not do well on grass or gravel. If you intend to use the scooter on a rough service, generally you will require larger tires and a little more power available.
  • Is the scooter stable? I have seen some scooters (usually the smaller compact models) that have a tendency to want to tip over. Believe it or not, many people are injured each year when the scooter tips over. Also make sure the scooter has sufficient weight capacity for it’s rider. Many of the smaller scooters have a very limited weight capacity.
  • Make sure that you have the means to transport the scooter. There are a number of good transport options. Rack carriers that mount in a trailer hitch are a good option, but have the limitation of allowing the scooter to be exposed to the elements. There are also vehicle lifts available to lift the scooter into an RV, van or truck. Many scooters are built to be disassembled into several parts. Usually however, this is difficult for the user unless they have a healthy person to do the lifting. Best thing here is to visit a dealer and discuss transport options. If you are not able to transport the scooter, it will not be much use to you!

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Tags: Medicare mobility scooter
Categories: Coaches Corner

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