Tom the Truck Driver Drives COPD Awareness

Posted on May 09, 2024   |   

This article was written by Tara Shedor, MA.

The COPD Foundation was delighted to recently be introduced to Tom of Pennsylvania who is using his time on the road to raise awareness about COPD and inspire our community. The following is an interview with Tom who shares his story about how he became an advocate for those with COPD through supporting his wife, Renee.

Who is your wife and how did she first become diagnosed with COPD?

Renee and Tom

My wife's name is Renee. She is 60 years old and will be 61 on April 25. She was diagnosed with COPD about 10 years ago. At that time, I had no idea what it was. She started having trouble walking and went to the doctor and the doctor diagnosed her with emphysema. She continued smoking, and only about two years later, she started having a lot of trouble breathing. I didn't know what to think. I used to smoke. I had never heard of COPD.

How did things progress for Renee?

They told her she should go on oxygen at night. She had this little tank. Then, eventually, they told her she needed to be on oxygen during the day. I was thinking, “really?” So, she had to be on oxygen all the time. Then next thing you know, it was one liter and then it went to two liters.

As time went on, I slowly started to witness how it was affecting her. She wasn't able to do her normal things in life such as walking distances. At that point I really started to research COPD. For the last 5 years, she became disabled from working, and the disease started to really take control of her abilities to do pretty much anything.

Then, last year, we started all the testing that's needed to qualify for a double lung transplant. This past Tuesday on April 9, she finally made it on the listing. I am scared for her and I'm sure she is also.

What inspired you to use your truck for COPD awareness?

COPD Truck

I started driving a truck for the place I work a couple of years ago. A guy I work with had a breast cancer awareness truck and I got to talk to him about it. He said it was for his wife who fought breast cancer. Then, I saw somebody had an autism awareness truck.

After a year of working there, you're allowed to pick what colors you want for your truck. So, I said I wanted to do purple and do it for COPD awareness for my wife. I wanted it because I don't want to see anyone going through what my wife has been going through.

A week later, my boss called me and gave me some design options for the truck. I think it turned out really nice. The front of my truck and the side of it says warrior. A special thank you to Mark Mcclymond, CEO of McClymonds Supply & Transit Co.

What kinds of reactions do you get about your truck?

Just the other day, I was sitting in this shopping plaza and these two ladies rode by. They stopped and I said, “You can take as many pictures you want!” I have a case of pamphlets with facts about COPD. So, I gave them a pamphlet. A lot of people stop at red lights and take pictures and I give them a pamphlet. So that's what I try to do.

Why do you think raising awareness about COPD is important?

I believe that through raising more awareness we could definitely save lives. I don't want to see anybody go through what my wife has been through.

What message do you have for those with loved ones fighting COPD?

If you end up with COPD, listen to the doctors. In the early stages, we wish she would have listened. If you are fighting COPD, throw those cigarettes away if that's the cause and please listen to your doctors, because if you don't, it's real and you will get worse.

Our appreciation to Tom for sharing his and Renee’s story and for making a difference in this world for those affected by COPD.

The COPD Foundation is committed to research aimed at finding a cure for COPD and providing support and resources for patients and their families. To donate, visit


You need to login to comment.
  • Thank you Tom for sharing yours and Renee"s story and thanks for spreading the COPD message with your truck-----
    -----Good lookin' truck!!👍
  • Thank you, Tom and Renee! You are very much appreciated. It's people like you that make our world a better place! 🤩
  • Thank you Tom and Renee!! Your truck is awesome!! I hope you'll please keep us updated on Renee's lung transplant journey.
  • Thank you Tom and Renee! I LOVE this truck! Thanks for being such a brave, creative advocate.
  • Your welcome
    And Thank you
  • Gosh, that is so great!! What a great husband, and what a great company and boss you work for!

  • Thank you Tom and Ranee, my prayers are with you both. I have severe COPD and was diagnosed with it in 1998. Please keep sharing the word for COPD. Your truck is awesome and so are both of you and the company you work for. It's people like you, that help people like me to spread the word, and make people aware of this dreaded Dease. Again a big THANK YOU, stay safe and may our Lord be with us all. Hugs

  • Thank you very much
    Sending you prayers 🙏