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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Ken Ellis

Ken Ellis Profile Photo Kennewick, Washington
washington04@copdfoundation.org

I’m a COPD Advocate because I wanted to help make a difference for the 24 million Americans with COPD. A democracy runs best with the input of its citizens so for me being an advocate is about being sure my voice is heard. As an advocate I want to make sure Congress knows who the COPD community is and what we want.

As State Captain I hope to keep the COPD community in our elected officials minds and bring a face to them.

My proudest COPD moment is when I am able to help somebody.

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Lauri Bianchi

Lauri Bianchi Profile Photo River Grove, Illinois
bianchibop@aol.com

As the newest patient advocate and State Captain for Illinois, I hope to accomplish helping along with understanding for those who are suffering with this difficult and isolating disease. More of these patients should be offered the support of others who have COPD, to share education, breathing techniques, exercise, nutrition, etc. So many patients after being diagnosed are given no additional information. There are many reasons rehab isn't offered or accepted, but I believe we should be getting the answers to those questions.

As a COPD advocate I have participated in health fairs or community events to promote COPD awareness, signed up for COPD360Social, and I am a member of a support group. I also have participated in COPD research opportunities such as the COPD PPRN.

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, in working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy, and participating and promoting research opportunities to help find a cure. I would also like to write about COPD to share my story and help raise awareness.

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Karla Enderle

Karla Enderle Profile Photo Fayetteville, AR
kpayne52@gmail.com

As a respiratory therapist and the newest State Captain for Arkansas, I hope to accomplish giving COPD Patients a voice. So many people in general do not understand lung disease but it's truly amazing how many in healthcare are so uneducated on this subject as well. When our PCPs, PAs, and APNs are so uninformed on proper diagnosis and management of COPD , it's not shocking that we have politicians, CEOs, Etc. making horrible decisions that affect all of our lives pertaining to COPD/disease management. This is an huge issue that could be fixed, with time, willing participants, and education.

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

As a State Captain, I am interested in participating and promoting research opportunities to help find a cure, and in working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy. I would also like to host and participate in fundraisers to support my community.

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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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Jim and Mary Nelson

Jim and Mary Nelson Profile Photo Tucson, Arizona
bluechickeninc@gmail.com

As State Captains we hope to raise awareness, use our story to educate, to inspire, and to support lung disease patients and their caregivers in their quest to achieve a decent quality of life.

Jim’s proudest COPD moment is surviving! Having the fortitude necessary to remain healthy enough to qualify for a double lung transplant at the age of 71.

Mary’s proudest COPD moment is not a particular moment but I am proudest of my capability to maintain a positive attitude the vast majority of the time throughout my husband’s illness, his near death, his transplant and recovery, and the years of advocacy since.

Jim: Some of our advocacy work has included: travelling to 11 national or state conferences to present information and inspirational talks on living with lung disease, travelled to London, England to speak to a COPD conference, participated in COPD Action Plan working group in Bethesda, Maryland, have written many articles for COPD360 as well as other online support groups. We have served as an executive board members of EFFORTS, have served as Southern Arizona Advocates for the American Lung Association, and have been featured in numerous articles in national publications, including the COPD Digest, Costco Connection, and others. We’ve taught classes to rehab patient and caregivers to RT students, to pharmacy students, and to hospice volunteers. I maintain an online blog of articles and videos that my wife (caregiver) and I have produced. We also counsel patients, caregivers and potential transplant recipients in person, by phone, and through email. We have met with Representative Raul Grijalva and we have talked with him and his executive assistant at length about COPD awareness. We also presented Grijalva with an award for his participation in the COPD Caucus.

Mary: We have spoken to many support groups, Better Breather's groups, and others to spread awareness about COPD. We have developed several different PowerPoint presentations for use in giving informative and inspirational speeches. We have taught classes to pulmonary rehab patients and caregivers on living well with lung disease. We have taught classes to pulmonary rehab students in Tucson and in Phoenix, and to pharmacy students in Tucson. We have taught Hospice volunteers about handling and dealing with lung disease patients. We have traveled to Chicago, (three times), San Diego (twice), Denver, Miami, Trenton, NJ, Phoenix, Kalamazoo, MI, and London, England to present at COPD conferences. We were invited to participate in the COPD summit in Bethesda. We will be attending COPD 10 in Chicago again this summer.(Remove) We have written many articles for online support groups such as COPD360 and other Facebook groups. We have established a website (uncleim-auntmary.net), which contains many of the articles and posts, and several videos. I have been a Hospice volunteer for 21 years, and I have used that training in dealing with many COPD patients.

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Douglas Martin

Douglas Martin Profile Photo Springfield, Tennessee
dougmartin202@gmail.com

As the newest patient advocate and State Captain for Tennessee, I hope to create a better network and spread information about COPD and other pulmonary diseases.

As a COPD advocate I have participated in health fairs or community events to promote COPD awareness, signed up for COPD360Social, spoken to my family and friends about COPD, and 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, participating and promoting research opportunities to help find a cure, and working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy.

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Anthony Everidge

Anthony Everidge Profile Photo Las Vegas, Nevada
aaeveridge@yahoo.com

As a respiratory therapist and State Captain for Nevada, I hope to accomplish advocating and educating the public, elected officials, as well as HCP's on COPD. I am dedicated to being a voice for education and awareness for COPD. This voice can pertain to the patient and their families perspective and span to healthcare providers and the legislative branches that can contribute to positive changes for COPD awareness and treatment advances.

As a COPD advocate, I have participated in health fairs or community events to promote COPD awareness, sent letters to my members of Congress about COPD, met with elected officials to discuss COPD, and have signed up for 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 as well as raising awareness by participating in health fairs and community events. I also would like to participate and promote research opportunities to help find a cure and recruit new State Captains and volunteers.

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Lisa Melvin

Lisa Melvin Profile Photo Fayetteville, North Carolina
northcarolina09@copdfoundation.org

As State Captain I hope to bring awareness to my community as well as my state.

My proudest COPD moment was becoming North Carolina’s State Captain.

My inspiration to share is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

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Christie Ward

Christie Ward Profile Photo Jackson, Tennessee
Tennessee08@copdfoundation.org

I am a Respiratory Therapist working as the Director of Clinical Education for an RT program in West TN. I also developed educational plans for a free COPD Disease Management Program in Jackson, TN and started a Pulmonary Rehab Program in Jackson,TN.

As a State Captain: I have just accepted a job as Director of Clinical Education for an RT program. I hope to saturate the minds of students to the importance of COPD disease management, patient and caregiver education and increase the involvement of those in our profession with community outreach and awareness.

My proudest COPD moment was hearing a group of severe COPD patients perform Amazing Grace on the Harmonica as part of Harmonicas for Health program. The reward of seeing improvement in any discouraged patient because they have been able to have an improved quality of life due to education, medication issue resolution or by participating in pulmonary rehabilitation. The Pulmonary Rehab Program we started at JMCGH dedicated the program in my honor. All of these moments make me proud.

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Margaret Bate

Margaret Bate Profile Photo Alief, Texas
texas09@copdfoundation.org

My father had COPD. I was his caregiver and coordinated his care in our family and his many health care providers. I shared in many of his hospital & ER trips including hospitalizations due to his COPD exacerbations. I experienced with desperation “Code Blue” calls on him while hospitalized. My hope for quality of life for him without COPD increased my determination to educate others about this deadly disease that does not have a cure yet but can be managed with proper treatments.

As State Captain I hope to educate COPDers, family, friends, and policymakers.

My proudest COPD moment was being a caregiver to my parents, especially my father who had COPD.

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LeAnn Boyce

LeAnn Boyce Profile Photo Prosper, Texas
elkybo1@aol.com

As a research assistant, and the newest State Captain for Texas, I want to improve the quality of life for COPD patients by working and promoting research for this disease. It is important to raise awareness and empower people with COPD to reduce the burden of the disease. The earlier COPD is diagnosed, the sooner patients can use the credible resources to improve their quality of life.

As a COPD advocate, I have signed up for COPD360Social, emailed my elected official, and have educated many patients about COPD.

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 participating and promoting research opportunities to help find a cure.

My proudest COPD moment has been working with many patients, as a respiratory therapist. Many patients were relieved to see a happy face entering their room or home. Being able to bring hope and encouragement was just as rewarding to me as it was to the patients.

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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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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!