Meet Your COPD Foundation Captains!

COPD Foundation 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. If you are interested in joining our group of volunteers, click here.

If you'd like to speak with a COPD Foundation Captain directly, please email and we will connect you with the Captain in your area of interest.

Search for a COPD Foundation Captain


To search by keyword(s), simply type the words in the search box and click Search.

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To filter by State, sledct a state from the drop down above the search box.

Laurene (Lauri) Bianchi

Laurene (Lauri) Bianchi Profile Photo River Grove, Illinois

As a State Captain for Illinois and patient advocate, I hope to accomplish with understanding and compassion for those struggling with COPD by passing on valuable information through education and resources. And fellow COPD patients who have learned from others over time, to help improve and adapt to living a better life, living with COPD.

When I was diagnosed, close to 20 years ago I had never heard of COPD and there was very little information available.

After learning about the COPD Foundation and attending pulmonary rehab a new world of knowledge opened up for me... and I wasn’t alone, as there were others just like me. And we continue to move forward since those early days of confusion.

As a COPD advocate I have participated in health fairs and community events promoting COPD awareness.

I have worked and continue to work with PPRN which is the Patient Powered Research Network which works to one day help us all.

One of our respiratory therapists with the COPD Foundation came up with a terrific and fun way to help us practicing breath better. It was a great idea and continues to live. I and six others played with a support group a few years ago and actually did a little traveling around to inspire others, even though we didn’t sound so great... we did inspire and had a lot of fun.

I enjoy and learn a lot in our Oxygen360 support group for those of us who use oxygen. We help each other and always learn something new from our leader who is extremely informative.

I have been in training to become a Peer Group Coach to support newly diagnosed COPD patients adjust to pulmonary rehab along with the hope they will understand how valuable exercise and learning how to be an advocate for their own health. And by learning how to help ourselves lead a fuller and purposeful lives is my goal for myself and others.

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Dr. Rajkumar Ganesan

Dr. Rajkumar Ganesan Profile Photo Tamil Nadu, India

Hi! I am Dr. Rajkumar Ganesan, and I am glad to join a great group of advocates with the COPD Foundation! I was born and raised in Tamil Nadu, India, I am cardiopulmonary physiotherapist with special interest in Pulmonary Rehabilitation. I hope to achieve my goal of raising COPD awareness and improving the daily activities of COPD patients by promoting Pulmonary rehabilitation, which will improve the quality of life in people living with lung disease, and I want to broaden the conversation about COPD.

As a Captain, I am interested in connecting others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives and to improve their quality of life. I would also like to raise awareness by participating in health fairs and community events via COPD360social.

My favourite quote is “Keep breathing. Just keep doing it. It’s easy. In and out.” - Jenny Downham.

I am very grateful to be a part of this experience.

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Leizel Trinidad Jacobsen

Leizel Trinidad Jacobsen Profile Photo Henderson, NV

Hi there! I'm so excited and proud to be a Captain for the COPD Foundation!

I was born and raised in the Philippines, but Las Vegas has been my 2nd home since 1996. I was raised by my grandparents, with my grandma diagnosed with COPD. I experienced firsthand the seriousness of having to deal with this condition. It was not easy for her—and it wasn't always easy being around her because of the way she was affected by it. But it made me realize how important it is to educate yourself about COPD and find ways to manage its symptoms.

Since then, I've been working as a respiratory therapist for 10 years. I love helping people who are dealing with COPD—and now that I'm a Captain with the COPD Foundation, I get to do that even more. It's an honor to be able to offer support, coaching, and encouragement to those who need it most.

As a COPD Foundation Captain, my mission is to connect as many people as possible to the COPD community so they can learn about how this disease affects them and their family members, as well as offer them resources so they can live healthier and fuller lives. I also hope to do more work in raising awareness events and hosting fundraisers to support our community.

I am a Christian who believes in the inherent goodness within each person; we all have something special that we can offer others if we only look for it! My passion is to provide encouragement to individuals so that they may pursue their goals with faithfulness and purpose.

My favorite inspirational quote comes from one of my own, "An act of goodwill is always rewarded. A good gesture is always appreciated."

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Sally Mims

Sally Mims Profile Photo Saginaw, MI

Hello I’m Sally. I’m a retired manager/social worker. My job was working with people who had mental illness and or substance abuse issues. My work was with kids as young as 8 to a 72 year old. It was very difficult, yet rewarding at the same time. I enjoyed advocating for the rights of individuals to be treated no differently than if they had a physical condition.

One day I was working and the next I found myself on disability with breathing difficulties. It was later diagnosed as COPD. I had emphysema I was told. Even though I had smoked for years I had quit for 15. Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought I had quit in time to thwart off the consequences of smoking. But, I had not. I went from being physically active to having trouble being short of breath. This was/is my new normal!

Now I advocate for lung health and lung disease especially COPD. I try to educate people about lung disease and how it affects peoples daily life. I try to be an example of living my best life with a disease that has no cure. I have been given many opportunities to learn from others and that’s what I want to achieve with my life as an example of what to do once diagnosed.

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Demeshia Montgomery

Demeshia Montgomery Profile Photo Dayton, OH

Demi Montgomery is a speaker for systemic sclerosis and the rare disease community. Creator of BIPOC programs, For Love of Children Board Member as well as the driving force behind State Bill 133. Demi resides in Dayton, Ohio where she is a wife, mother and community volunteer. Demi is also the creator of Jacob’s Hugs Registry and The Waiting Room Entertainment. She is a speaker/collaborator/moderator for Patients Rising, Brain Injury Network and the National Organization for Rare Disorders with a feature film on the Disorder Channel “Amy & Demi’s Scleroderma Journey''. Her responsibilities are to increase scleroderma awareness within her community and surrounding areas; by obtaining proclamations annually, program writing and volunteering for fundraising events. She attends capitol hill days and meets with public officials regularly to advocate for research funding. She also creates interactive content for the disabled community at large. She is an alumnus of University of Phoenix with an AA in Human Service Management and trained in Mental Health First Aid. She is also the recipient of the National Scleroderma Foundation 2020 Advocate of the Year Award and 2022 Program of the Year award for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color)

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Holly M. Logsdon

Holly M. Logsdon Profile Photo Owensboro, KY

I am glad to join a great group of advocates with the COPD Foundation!

As a COPD Foundation Captain, I am most interested in connecting with others to learn what resources are available for our patients that will help them live a healthier and fuller life.

The COPD Clinical Program Specialist role is new to the organization. The goal of this program is to prevent readmissions, educate the patient on their disease process and empower the patient to take control of managing their disease.

I am also involved in raising community awareness by attending local health fair events to provide COPD education and as a Tobacco Treatment Specialist, help patients overcome their nicotine addiction.

I truly believe by helping just one person, you have helped many. “One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others.” -Lewis Carol

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Audrey Chavez

Audrey Chavez Profile Photo Meridian, Idaho

I am excited to join the COPD Foundation as this is a wonderful group of advocates and friends of individuals with COPD. As a COPD Foundation Captain, I am interested in helping individuals with COPD learn how they can best take charge of their health so that they can have the highest possible quality of life.

I have worked in healthcare for over a decade and have been a respiratory therapist for the last 6 years. I currently work in the hospital setting as a patient pulmonary disease educator. I love the work that I do because I love to connect with people and help them to learn the things that they can do to make a difference in their own lives.

I believe in the pillars of lifestyle medicine which are: nutrition, physical activity, stress management, improved sleep, avoiding toxic substances, and promotion of positive relationships in addition to medications, therapies, and interventions for lung health.

I am also involved in The Better Breather’s Club as the Meridian, Idaho BBC Club Facilitator through the American Lung Association. I enjoy attending and presenting at local health fairs and engaging with the community.

I am a forever optimist and I promise to always encourage, motivate, and believe in the good of the world.

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.” -Audrey Hepburn

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Jessica Martin

Jessica Martin Profile Photo Surprise, AZ

I am glad to join a great group of advocates with COPD Foundation! I'm originally from Arizona but moved to Nevada for few years and came back to Arizona. As a respiratory therapist I practiced in both states. I hope to educate the public and offer support for those dealing with pulmonary diseases.

There are few thigs I have already done as a COPD advocate volunteer. I sit on the Executive Committe Board of the American Lung Association for many years, volunteered for many events and education conferences, donations, health fairs, community events, walks, climbs and fashion shows. I also volunteered my time Alph-1 Antitrypsin companies for testing in healthfairs. I am still very active, and I want to educate and promote education to provide better quality of life. These were all to promote COPD and respiratory disease awareness. Also, I plan to stay active on COPD360social to support.

As a COPD Foundation Captain, I am interested in connecting and engaging with the COPD community to provide educational resources to improve better quality of life. My plan is to raise awareness and host fundraisers to support the continuity of COPD community. I enjoy participating in advanced research to help facilitate cures.

My favorite inspirational quote is " You are what you eat" everything starts from the food and environment we live in.

I am faith driven. I am an adamant golfer and love staying active. My passion is I love to volunteer my time to people in the community. I worked for many years in the respiratory field from trauma, ICU, ER, homecare, sales, DME, rehab, to now an education Professor and Program Director of Respiratory Care. My heart is really in cardiopulmonary rehab unit. My education is I currently hold a master's degree and all my education emphasizes Human Pathophysiology/ Respiratory Care/ Advanced Patient Care/ Health Care Administration. Working on completing my doctorate degree in health sciences in the next few years.

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Tom Krueger

Tom Krueger Profile Photo Deer Park, WI

Diagnosed with COPD in 2006. Went on O2 in 2009 part time. In 2012 went on O2 full time. I use O2 tanks a 4 liters. Being on O2 limits you from doing things. You just have to learn a different approach. I enjoy helping the ones who are on O2. I can relate to that. If I can help one person with COPD be comfortable and still get around. To me that is successful.

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April Nopper

April Nopper Profile Photo Las Vegas, NV

I am originally from Massachusetts but have lived most of my adult life in Las Vegas. In my spare time when I am not educating future Respiratory Therapists, I enjoy hiking with my family and 3 dogs, fishing, travelling, and working on various craft projects.

I earned an associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy and have served as a dedicated respiratory therapist for 25 years. With a passion for learning, I decided to further my education and earned a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to travel the country as a travel therapist, providing care to patients in a variety of settings. My work experience has included adult critical care, emergency department, neonatal intensive care, trauma, and pulmonary rehab. Currently I am a Program Director and Instructor at Carrington College in Las Vegas, NV. Through my experiences, I have gained a vast amount of knowledge and expertise in the field. My passion for respiratory therapy has remained strong and I am committed to continuously learning and improving to ensure the best possible outcomes for my patients.

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Shaamahummed Shaik

Shaamahummed Shaik Profile Photo Eugene, OR

Howdy! My name is Shaamahummed Shaik. I am an energetic, excited, and fun high school student from Eugene Oregon who loves to volunteer, and help others. I have had a family member pass away from COPD in 2011 which has really sparked a passion in me to help other people, family, and friends who go through this horrible illness. Either through advocacy, research, or spreading awareness I am committed to making a difference against COPD. These days I see many youth using vapes and some even nicotine cigarettes leading themselves to a COPD diagnosis. I hope through my role of being a Foundation Captain I can inform my peers and people younger than me as well about the detrimental effects of smoking or vaping along with how it could lead to a COPD diagnosis. If you are even slightly interested in contributing to working against COPD please reach out and we here at the COPD foundation would love to have you collaborate with us!

A quote that I live by is “ If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” - Benjamin Franklin

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Amelia Miller

Amelia Miller Profile Photo Charleston, SC

Hi! I am a rising senior at Wando High School in Charleston, currently on the Biomedical and Sports Medicine track. I, myself, suffer from a chronic respiratory disease and I understand what COPD patients are going through.

I am very excited to join this wonderful team of advocates for the COPD Foundation! I am excited to advocate and be able to support patients suffering from COPD. I want to continue to help patients and continue to advocate in my state by spreading awareness for COPD and inspire more people to help with the COPD Foundation. I am very passionate about this topic and hope to help more and more people!

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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 for questions and to start the onboarding process today!