Meet Your State Advocacy Captains!

State Captains are volunteers with COPD, caregivers, friends and family members or healthcare providers who use their contacts and talents and partner with the COPD Foundation to serve as state and community leaders.

Captains promote the importance of becoming a part of the COPD community. They work to spread COPD awareness in their state and local areas, mentor fellow COPD community members, and participate in online and in-person grassroots advocacy and community building activities focused on health policy issues that are important to those who have COPD. To learn more about becoming a state captain in your area please email statecaptains@copdfoundation.org.


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Linda Mullin

Linda Mullin Profile Photo Princeton, West Virginia
lrmullin@hotmail.com

As an Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Defeciency/ COPD’er, it is important to get the word out about these diseases. The leaders of our state and nation have an impact on how chronic health issues are being handled. Letting officials know our current status by speaking up will hopefully help our communities in the fight for breathe. MY LIFE IS WORTHWHILE, AND SO IS YOURS! Speak up or you are never heard. The silence of voices: “A person dies in the United States every four minutes from COPD---the third largest killer.”

As State Captain I hope to raise awareness for COPD and Alpha-1 in my state, letting every individual know they are not alone.

My proudest COPD moment is helping others. Not proud for myself but of them in learning more to make their lives better. Anxiety is the fear of the unknown. Knowledge is the key factor in unlocking that fear through understand.

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Wendy J. Linscott

Wendy J. Linscott Profile Photo Albuquerque, NM
NewMexico16@copdfoundation.org

As a respiratory therapist and COPD Educator, I am excited to join the COPD Foundation State Captain Program for New Mexico.As a State Captain, I would like to improve the education and knowledge base of COPD for clinicians and all healthcare professionals involved in the care and treatment of COPD patients in order to ensure appropriate diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for early diagnosis and treatment resulting in improved quality of life for the COPD population.

As a COPD Advocate I have called, emailed, and met with my state officials. I have also participated in health fairs and community events to promote COPD awareness, am a member of a local support group, and am a certified COPD Educator.

As a State Captain, I am looking forward to connecting others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives. Additionally, I would like to Work with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy and participate in COPD Education for early diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

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Goldia 'Gigi' Brown

Goldia 'Gigi' Brown Profile Photo Fairburn, GA
goldiambrown@gmail.com

As a former caregiver, friend, and the newest State Captain from Georgia, I hope to accomplish bringing COPD awareness to the forefront in the community where I live and throughout the state of Georgia. My goal is to help educate the general public, to advocate on behalf of those living with COPD at both the state and federal level,and to do all that I can to assist in the prevention and elimination of COPD.

As a State Captain, I am most interested in connecting others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives, and raising awareness by participating in health fairs and community events. I would also like to write about COPD to share my story and help raise awareness, and work with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy.

My proudest COPD moment thus far is the opportunity to serve as a State Captain for Georgia.

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Laurie Niemer

Laurie Niemer Profile Photo Harrison Township, Michigan
LaurieNiemerforCOPD@gmail.com

As State Captain I hope to bring awareness to the increasing need for education in the community and the patients affected by COPD. I would hope to be a voice for those who cannot or do not have the resources to get their story out.

My proudest COPD moment was when I was a therapist working in a Detroit hospital I took care of a man (I'll call him Mr. Smith). He was a "frequent flyer." The first time I met him I was told in "report" he was a cranky person and just "get in and get out." I was always challenged to NOT be that therapist. Mr. Smith was cranky, but he had a reason to be-- he had COPD and it was getting worse. He did this to himself from years of smoking and he was mad, mad at himself. I was determined to make him smile. Since I was new to him, he gave me a bit of a hard time, and I gave it back. We got along quite well. I sat and talked with him on my breaks, and he would even ask if I was working when he would come in so I would go visit him. I believe laughter is the best medicine, and it worked not only for him, but me too. I am not sure where Mr. Smith is today but I would hope that I brightened his day and he would smile when he thought of our visits.

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Jim Farmer

Jim Farmer Profile Photo Fort Payne, Alabama
jimf@abcplus.net

As a former caregiver, current healthcare professional, and the first State Captain for Alabama, my goal is to establish county level committees to drive awareness and participation in COPD Foundation initiatives.

As a COPD advocate, my efforts to bring awareness to COPD and the causes of COPD have presented many opportunities to discuss this disease through many avenues, including print media, electronic media, and live events, such as community events and health fairs.

As a State Captain, I am interested in connecting others in the COPD community to available resources so they can live healthier, fuller lives. I will continue to raise awareness by participating in community events and recruiting new State Captains and volunteers. I will also continue to write about COPD and work with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy.

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Cristin Trecore

Cristin Trecore Profile Photo Lewisville, North Carolina
northcarolina5@copdfoundation.org

As the newest State Captain for North Carolina, I hope to accomplish raising awareness for pulmonary rehab, end of life issues and ways for patients to manage their disease and stop smoking.

As a COPD advocate I have participated in health fairs or community events to promote COPD awareness and have emailed my elected officials.

As a State Captain, I am most interested in connecting others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives.

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Tyler Voorhees

Tyler Voorhees Profile Photo Beavercreek, OH
tevoorhees@me.com

I am a respiratory therapist working to provide education and training throughout the Midwest to improve the quality of care COPD and bronchiectasis patients receive. Over the course of my career I have participated in health fairs and educational events to promote awareness and better education for those dealing with COPD.

As a State Captain, I hope to participate in promoting research opportunities to help find a cure, recruit new State Captain volunteers, and help connect people in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier fuller lives.

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Ken Benson

Ken Benson Profile Photo Laguna Woods, CA
copdguy43@gmail.com

I am a COPD and Alpha-1 patient whose aim it is to raise awareness of COPD with anyone and everyone I meet. I want to change the general public, health care providers, and government stakeholder’s perspectives about COPD, with the end goal being to improve the quality of life for the entire COPD community.

I have met with elected officials and called and written others. As I try to spread awareness, I have participated in health fairs and other community events and participated in research opportunities such as the COPD Patient Powered Research Network. I have written to various publications and have taken part in interviews to share my perspectives on living with COPD and Alpha-1. Another way I help the COPD community is by being active on 360social and other patient oriented media.

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Karen Anzalone

Karen Anzalone Profile Photo Northport, New York
Karen_anzalone@yahoo.com

I’m a COPD Advocate because I wanted to help make a difference for the 24 million Americans with COPD. My father died from COPD in November 2010. As his primary caregiver and a witness to the devastating effects of this disease, I knew I needed to make a difference for everyone affected by COPD. My journey has taken me from being my Dad’s caregiver to serving the COPD community. My focus has expanded to community based advocacy and social media, “advocacy is key to raising awareness”.

As State Captain I’d like to raise COPD awareness. It’s vital that we educate and empower patients to learn and manage their COPD. I would like to get more caregivers involved with advocacy efforts.

Some of my advocacy work has included, creating a virtual World COPD Day in social media which resulted in thousands of participants and was shared worldwide.

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Karen Deitemeyer

Karen Deitemeyer Profile Photo Melbourne, Florida
kdeit1946@yahoo.com

I’m a COPD Advocate because I have COPD and want to help make a difference for the 30 million Americans with COPD. When I was growing up, it was considered “cool” to smoke cigarettes – we now know the dangers and many of us are living with COPD as a result. I want to bring awareness to the many who still use tobacco products and to the youth who may be tempted to start. And recently I’ve become aware of the many youth who believe that vaping isn’t dangerous – but it is, as we are beginning to learn.

As an Advocate I hope to educate Congress about our COPD Community and what we need and as a State Captain I hope to have made a difference in the lives of others diagnosed with COPD by showing them that it is possible to live well with COPD. I hope to be successful in encouraging others to join the COPD PPRN so that one day there will be a cure. My proudest COPD moment was being honored with the COPD Advocacy Award in New York City on November 2nd, 2017. And a close runner-up was sharing my story at a Congressional Briefing in Washington, DC.

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Tom Fleming

Tom Fleming Profile Photo Mahwah, NJ
thomasfleming1175@gmail.com

I lost my favorite Aunt and my Godmother to COPD. She suffered quietly for years without telling a soul about COPD. I want people to know it is ok to tell your loved ones and at the end of the day they don’t need to be embarrassed about their condition. I want people to know that their family will accept them for who they are and support them. Simply put, families help each other.

After becoming aware of COPD, I became interested in knowing more and investigating how I could help. As a State Captain I hope to make calls to state and federal officials on behalf of patients and caregivers, raise awareness by participating in health fairs and community events and host and participate in fundraisers to support my community and the COPD Foundation.

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Shelly Webb

Shelly Webb Profile Photo Mcconnelsville, OH
shellykwebb@gmail.com

As a patient advocate, and the newest State Captain for Ohio, I am interested in accomplishing helping to educate those who do not know so much about the disease. Also, mostly I want to let others know they are not alone in this. Receiving a COPD diagnosis can be scary. We are here to help with understanding and coping with an initial diagnosis and the disease.

As a COPD advocate, I have I spoke to my family and friends about COPD, and I am a member of a support group.

As a State Captain, I am interested in connecting others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives and writing about COPD to share my story and help raise awareness.

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COPD Foundation State Captain Program Informational Video

The COPD Foundation is looking for new State Captains to join our community to be champions for promoting COPD awareness, improving quality of life for those with COPD, to participate in research opportunities, policy, and much more. Email statecaptains@copdfoundation.org for questions and to start the onboarding process today!