Faces of COPD: Cara Pasquale says, 'Don't give up hope.'

Posted on November 30, 2017   |   

Cara tells us about the Foundation’s COPD Patient-Powered Research Network, the importance of advancing this initiative and how she first learned about COPD and its many causes.

Research is essential for improving treatments for COPD as well as finding a cure for this devastating disease. The COPD Foundation’s (COPDF) COPD Patient-Powered Research Network (COPD PPRN) aims to establish the largest network of individuals with COPD who are willing to share their health information and the impact this disease has on their lives. This, in turn, will lead to a deeper understanding of the disease and ultimately a cure.

Cara Pasquale COPD Patient-Powered Research with the COPD Foundation As the Director of the COPD PPRN, Cara’s role is to “advance and expand the COPD PPRN by engaging patients in research, facilitating collaborations with stakeholders and building our research network.”

As Cara explains, “In my capacity I work towards the research aspect of the COPDF’s mission. We want to build the largest COPD patient-focused registry in the US (~75,000 people) where participants voluntarily share their health information, the impact COPD has on their lives as well as participate in research. This will enable us to do more research, discover more treatments and ultimately find a cure.”

Most recently, the COPD PPRN offered participants in the COPD community the opportunity to take part in three different studies. “We hope to have more opportunities in the future,” says Cara. To learn more about the COPD PPRN, click here.

While a huge misconception is that COPD is “just a smoker’s disease”, Cara knows first-hand that “there is a huge environmental component as well as a genetic one that needs to be researched more and understood.”

Indeed, Cara first learned about COPD when she was working overseas in Kenya. “People in villages were in dire need of clean cooking stoves. The ventilation was so bad. Women and children were exposed to cooking fumes that caused respiratory issues including COPD.”

Cara says she was “really struck by the environmental causes of this disease which go beyond just smoking cigarettes in one’s life. Environmental factors really play a huge role.”

She’s proud to be part of COPDF because it’s “really focused on the individual with COPD and those in the community who are affected. We are working to bring awareness to this disease that affects so many yet does not receive enough public attention or research dollars.”

She wants everyone to know that COPDF is “working for you and continually trying to find ways to advocate and make sure people in power understand how important it is to address COPD and help those affected.”

If you or someone you love has been affected by COPD, Cara says, “Don’t give up hope. Try to move a little every day. Even the smallest movement and exercise can help improve quality of life over the long run.”


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  • Thank you so much Cara, for your dedication to research - I commented on another blog today that if members haven't joined the PPRN yet, now is the time to do it - do it for yourself, but also do it to honor the memory of Edna Shattuck, a member of the PPRN Governing Board, who passed away unexpectedly this week. More research might have made a difference.
    • Hi Karen, thank you so much for the kind words. I love working with you and thank you for all that you do to spread the word about the COPD PPRN and why it is important. Edna is very missed and I hope to honor her memory with trying to push research forward.
  • Cara, Thank You for being dedicated to find a cure through PPRN. We haven't begun to understand the impact of COPD Worldwide. Thank You for sharing your story, and opening our eyes to the environmental factors around us. Love Bill66
    • Hi Bill, apologies for the delay in responding. Thank you for the kind words. COPD is a big issue not just for the US but for the global community. Hopefully the efforts of our COPD PPRN can connect with global efforts in the future to gain a fuller understanding of this disease.
  • Cara, thank you for all you do. It has been a pleasure meeting and working with you. We are dedicated to recruiting more PPRN members. Research is vital if there is to be a cure for COPD.
    • Hi Jan, it has been a pleasure working with you and thank you for all that you do on the COPD PPRN GB to help move research forward and provide critical input.