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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Michelle Schone

Michelle Schone Profile Photo Topeka, KS
maschone@yahoo.com

As a respiratory therapist, and the newest state captain from Kansas, I hope that my experience and education can help further the education and treatment of COPD to help people living with COPD can live to their fullest.

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 participating and promoting research opportunities to help find a cure. I would also like to help raise awareness by participating in health fairs and community events.

My proudest COPD moment has been when a relationship is built between a patient and myself, providing them the ability to trust me to care for them in their time of need.

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Kristie Hamilton

Kristie Hamilton Profile Photo Springdale, Arkansas
kdhamilton1014@icloud.com

As a respiratory therapist, and the newest State Captain from Arkansas, my goal is to educate patients on the disease process and bring awareness of COPD through meeting with government and businesses, Hosting fundraisers, and providing support to patients and their families.

As a COPD advocate I have participated in health fairs or community events to promote COPD awareness, spoken to my family and friends about COPD, and educate my patients everyday on COPD.

As a State Captain, I am interested in working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy, 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 recruit new State Captains and volunteers.

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Sarah Tencza

Sarah Tencza Profile Photo Catonsville, MD
sarahtencza@umm.edu

As a respiratory therapist and the newest State Captain from Maryland, I hope to accomplish increasing awareness of COPD in the community. I also want to provide education to those affected by COPD and their family members.

As a COPD advocate, I have participated in health fairs or community events to promote COPD awareness, and am a Better Breathers Club facilitator.

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 work with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy and host and participate in fundraisers to support my community.

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Patricia J. Owens

Patricia J. Owens Profile Photo Tucson, Arizona
owensp66@hotmail.com

As a patient advocate and the newest State Captain for Arizona, I hope to accomplish bringing awareness of COPD and help to not only my community but to all that will listen.

As a COPD advocate, I have sent a letter to my members of Congress about COPD, and I have spoken to my family and friends about COPD. I am also a member of a support group, and I have signed up for COPD360social.

As a State Captain, I am interested in working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy, and writing about COPD to share my story and help raise awareness. I would also like to connect others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives, and recruit new State Captains and volunteers.

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Susan Estrella-Eades

Susan Estrella-Eades Profile Photo Philadelphia, PA
Pennsylvania2@copdfoundation.org

As a State Captain for Pennsylvania, and as a Nurse Practitioner, I hope to continue community outreach to educate patients with COPD and provide educational and support resources. I would like to be part of the movement to help patients with COPD be self empowered, healthier, and have an increased quality of life.

As a COPD advocate, I started and currently run a Better Breathers COPD Support Group, and help organize a free yearly COPD patient education and advocacy event for patients and their caregivers in Valley Forge and the surrounding areas.

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, writing about COPD to share my story and help raise awareness, and raising awareness by participating in health fairs and community events.

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Charles Hopper

Charles Hopper Profile Photo Temple, Texas
charleshopperihs@gmail.com

As a State Captain for Texas, and patient advocate, I hope to accomplish being able to reach out to others and share with them that COPD is not the end of their world. That there is life after being diagnosed. The simple fact of raising awareness among others and giving a direction to those in need. To those that are diagnosed who are often left to fend for themselves offering a place and directions can change their life.

As a COPD advocate I have signed up for COPD360Social, I have spoken with my family and friends about COPD, am a member of a support group, and I have participated in COPD research opportunities such as the COPD PPRN.

As a State Captain I hope to connect others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives, as well as write about COPD to share my story and help raise awareness. I would also like to working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy and participate and promote research opportunities to help find a cure.

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Elizabeth Berger

Elizabeth Berger Profile Photo Silver Spring, Maryland
maryland08@copdfoundation.org

I’m a COPD advocate because I have seen the effects first-hand within my own family. It saddens me that many people are unaware about the seriousness of COPD, which often involves chronic physical pain and sometimes, mental illness. COPD doesn’t get nearly as much attention within the health research domain, and I would love to see research grow in this area. Research is the cornerstone of advancement, and has to be done to improve prevention efforts, treatment, and the overall quality of life for people affected by COPD! Achieving this goal starts with spreading the word about COPD.

As State Captain I would like to be more engaged with the local COPD community and assist in research initiatives. I want to connect more with other State Captains and providers so I can learn more, specifically about pulmonary rehab and how to make it more accessible for people who don't have access to it. I also would like to be more politically active and meet with elected officials regarding COPD more regularly. I would like to increase my participation in community events and fundraisers to raise awareness and generate funds to support the COPD Foundation.

My proudest COPD moment was being asked to assist with the recent COPD Foundation grant proposal. I was also thrilled when I inspired a few other folks to submit comments regarding COPD-legislation.

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Tina Moyer

Tina Moyer Profile Photo Middleburg, Pennsylvania
tiba65.copd@gmail.com

As State Captain I hope to promote COPD awareness so that doctors can be more aware that pulmonary rehab can help those of us with chronic lung issues, to help fellow COPDers, caregivers, friends and family can understand COPD better, and most importantly, to let fellow COPDers know they are not alone in this journey that we all share. COPD goes through many stages to maintain quality of life and the COPD Foundation is there to help us.

My proudest COPD moment was when I traveled to Washington, DC to talk with elected officials about healthcare issues for COPD. October 2017 marks 8 years of being smoke-free, along with my son who quit with me.

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Robin Hudson

Robin Hudson Profile Photo Lebanon, TN
robinphudson@gmail.com

As a medical provider and caregiver, and the newest State Captain from Tennessee, I hope to accomplish increasing awareness and helping as many COPD patients as possible.

As a COPD advocate, I have spoken to my family and friends about COPD, I have written about COPD in a newspaper, magazine, or other publication, and have joined COPD360social.

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 raising awareness by participating in health fairs and community events. I would also like to work with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy, and to write about COPD to share my story and help raise awareness.

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Michele Ceuterick-Feehan

Michele Ceuterick-Feehan Profile Photo South Bend, IN
indiana02@copdfoundation.org

I am a daughter, sister, wife, mom, grandmother, and friend. I am that person you may look over and see at a stoplight, or pass in a store. My story is modest, I have spent the majority of my life beginning in high school participating in community volunteerism and raising my children.

I was diagnosed with emphysema in 2008 and I was terrified, left mostly on my own to try and figure out how to cope. In 2015 my Dr. gave me two years, told me to get my affairs in order, begin my goodbyes. I took a second to breakdown and feel the full weight of devastation, and then I got angry, very angry, nobody was giving me an expiration date, period. I have always during difficult times sat myself on the floor in front of a mirror and told me to get up, find my strength and move on. I’ve spent my life never accepting no, never allowing someone to tell me or anyone I loved that something could not be done, I am the consummate think outside of the box person and now I needed to find that tenacity for me.

I researched, I read, I asked a million questions. I fought for six months to get into rehab, and I went from sitting on a couch with a potty chair near, and using a walker to get around my home to completing approximately forty to sixty miles a week via treadmill and bike often using a 4% incline, I lift weights, and use tension bands, and I work out at home as well. This opportunity to make a real difference, to help people like me find hope and strength, to help change the narrative is both humbling and exciting. I am honored to be given this moment at this time in my life.

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Marshall Swanson

Marshall Swanson Profile Photo Kronenwetter, Wisconsin
MarPaul2@msn.com

My goal in life is to make as many people as possible aware of the importance of finding a cure for this dreaded disease. Smokers and nonsmokers are affected. At least 12 million American’s are unaware of the fact that they may have COPD.

As State Captain I hope to spread the word along with the COPD Foundation.

My proudest COPD moment was attending the lobby days in Washington, DC.

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Mike Hess

Mike Hess Profile Photo Kalamazoo, Michigan
michael.hess@med.wmich.edu

I am a Respiratory Therapist helping to educate people about lung disease.

As a State Captain, I hope to help change the trajectory of COPD in the United States by increasing awareness, funding, and research.

My proudest COPD moment is when a patient thanked me because, as they said, they "didn't know how bad my breathing was until it got better," because of their appointments with me.

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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!