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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Dan Kealing

Dan Kealing Profile Photo The Woodlands, Texas
dankealing@me.com

As the newest State Captain for Texas, I hope to accomplish developing a list of quality resources such as doctors, pulmonary rehabilitation specialists, dietitians,psychologists and other professionals in my area and reach out to other COPD patients to connect them with those resources.

As a COPD advocate, I have spoken to my family and friends about COPD and I have signed up for COPD360Social.

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 to participate and promote research opportunities to help find a cure.

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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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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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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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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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Pamela Plasch

Pamela Plasch Profile Photo Grantsburg, Wisconsin
Wisconsin07@copdfoundation.org

As the newest State Captain for Wisconsin, I hope to accomplish bringing awareness to our rural communities about COPD and to give COPD patients hope with accurate information about treatment for this disease to show them that we can still lead a happy and productive life. I would like to hold health fairs in our hospitals, clinics, and possibly in our local gyms to spread awareness and information.I would also like to see if I can raise awareness to Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance companies about what is needed for COPD patients with the hope that we can provide the care and medications for all patients with COPD.

As a COPD advocate, I have created an active Facebook COPD support group in 2015 with over 7,200 members. I have also emailed my elected officials, sent a letter to my members of Congress about COPD, am a member of a support group, and have spoken to my family and friends 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, as well as working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy. I would also like to raise awareness by participating in health fairs and community events, participate and promote research opportunities to help find a cure, and write about COPD to share my story and help raise awareness.

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Madison Musick

Madison Musick Profile Photo Tampa, FL
Mrubymusick@gmail.com

As a caregiver, and the newest State Captain from Florida, I hope to accomplish educating people on COPD and improving those patients lives who already have been diagnosed with COPD. I want to educate kids early on of the dangers of smoking and the consequences of it later on. Also to bring attention to the issue, many people I go to college with don't know what COPD is or how serious it is.

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, writing about COPD to share my story and help raise awareness, and raising awareness by participating in health fairs and community events. I would also like to help to recruit new State Captains and volunteers, and host and participate in fundraisers to support my community.

My proudest COPD moment was helping my mom quit smoking and helping her to exercise more regularly to improve her breathing.

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Bonnie Truelsen

Bonnie Truelsen Profile Photo Evanston, IL
bstruelsen@gmail.com

Meet Bonnie Truelsen, State Captain from Evanston, Illinois. Bonnie is passionate about educating people with COPD to help them live life to the fullest. She believes that most people don’t have the information they need to make good choices to manage their COPD symptoms, but she is working hard to change that.

Bonnie has participated in advocacy activities in her community and has signed up for research activities through the COPD Foundation’s Patient Powered Research Network (PPRN). She is also active in her volunteer work at her hospital’s Pulmonary Rehab. This is just one place where she works to achieve her goal of bringing knowledge and education not only to those living with COPD, but also their caregivers.

She has a wonderfully positive outlook and sees every morning as a gift to reach out and help others, in part because of her own COPD experience. Bonnie was diagnosed in 2007 with Stage 4 COPD and thought it was a death sentence. She says, “I am beyond grateful for all those who encouraged and taught me that I could have an extraordinary life, no matter what.”

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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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Erica Mann

Erica Mann Profile Photo Fayetteville, GA
Emann@synsormed.com

As a healthcare professional and the newest State Captain for Georgia, I hope to accomplish being able to help those that are suffering from COPD to get their voices heard. Only they know what they are struggling with on a personal level, and if I can help spread their voices in high numbers, I believe more changes will come. I also want to get a better understanding of what respiratory therapists go through, so they can receive more support as well as they encounter more and more patients with COPD.

As a State Captain, I hope to accomplish raising awareness by participating in health fairs and community events, and hosting and participating in fundraisers to support my community. I would also like to connect others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives, and participate and promote research opportunities to help find a cure.

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Deb Daro

Deb Daro Profile Photo Metuchen, New Jersey
ddarocopd@gmail.com

I am a patient.

By becoming a COPD State Captain, I hope to raise awareness in order to help raise funding for research. Ultimately it is about a cure.

Knowing how much exercise has helped me, I want as many people as possible to get up and moving again.

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Ken Ellis

Ken Ellis Profile Photo Kennewick, Washington
gatorken@bluediamonde.com

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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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!