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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Caroline Zeigler

Caroline Zeigler Profile Photo The Dalles, Oregon
rz@gorge.net

As a COPD patient advocate, and State Captain from Oregon, I hope to accomplish helping to raise awareness about COPD and contribute to the COPD community by participating and volunteering. My hope is to help others who are impacted by COPD through education and information that can improve their quality of life.

As a COPD advocate, I have spoken to my family and friends about COPD, sent letters to my members of Congress about COPD, and have participated in COPD research opportunities such as the COPD PPRN.

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 in working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy. I would also like to participate and promote research opportunities to help find a cure and help raise awareness by participating in health fairs and community events.

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Orlan Holmes

Orlan Holmes Profile Photo Fort Wayne, Indiana
orlanholmes@yahoo.com

I was diagnosed with COPD in 2003 and I was sent home to die. After a few years of living with the disease, I quit smoking. After I had quit smoking for over a year, my pulmonologists asked me if I would be interested in trying to get a double lung transplant. I was very interested. It took me over a year to get on the list and I waited for 3 years to get my new lungs. I received a double lung transplant on August 3rd, 2012. I have been thru a lot in the past few years and since I have received the gift of life, I am trying to make it count for something.

As a COPD advocate i speak at medical colleges and health fairs. I have traveled to Washington, DC with the Alpha-1 Foundation meeting with the FDA.

As State Captain I hope to make at least one person’s life better through education and awareness. This gives them hope and makes me feel good.

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Barry Hoehn

Barry Hoehn Profile Photo Birmingham, Alabama
Barry1hoehn@yahoo.com

I am a COPD Foundation state captain living in Birmingham, Alabama. I decided to become a State Captain so I could help people who have COPD understand that there is so much they can do to take charge of their health and to stay connected with resources they will need to manage their health well.

When I was diagnosed, I knew there were things I was going to have to do to take charge of my health. The first thing was to quit smoking. The day I was diagnosed, I threw my pack of cigarettes away and never smoked another one. I also learned the importance of exercise. I was able to develop an exercise regimen with my pulmonary doctor, and I am convinced that this faithful exercise has helped keep my COPD from progressing.

If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with COPD, don’t give up. Get active. And above all, have faith in yourself, and in God.

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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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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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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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Sandi Roberts

Sandi Roberts Profile Photo Smithville, MS
lroberts@monroeregionalhospital.com

As a respiratory therapist and State Captain from Mississippi, I hope to encourage all with COPD to show them they can have a fulfilling life with this diagnosis. They can still do the things they love.

As a COPD advocate, I have participated in health fairs or community events to promote COPD awareness, and I have signed up for COPD360SOCIAL.

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 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.

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Marlyce Campbell

Marlyce Campbell Profile Photo Wakeeney, KS
mcampbell@tclmh.org

As a respiratory therapist and a State Captain from Kansas, I hope to accomplish helping people understand how to live with COPD and to maximize medication, actives and daily living to their fullest.

As a COPD advocate, I have sent a letter to my members of Congress about COPD and I have participated in health fairs and community events to promote COPD awareness.

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, raising awareness by participating in health fairs and community events, and working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy.

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Mary Schmitz

Mary Schmitz Profile Photo Fort Mohave, AZ
marypediatricot@gmail.com

As an occupational therapist with over 32 years of clinical and advocacy experience, and the State Co-Captain for Nevada, I want to share my knowledge with those that are affected by COPD, but also to connect with healthcare professionals to collaborate on effective solutions to address access to healthcare resources and due to this need, I intend to support the voices of those with COPD for legislation. As an advocate, I want to prepare others to find their voice rather than depend on healthcare professionals to be the only voice.

As a COPD advocate, I have emailed, written, called and have met with my elected officials- I am currently the legislative chairperson for the state occupational therapy association. I have also co-developed outpatient OT/PT programming reimbursed by Medicare, have participated in health fairs or community events to promote COPD awareness, and I have written about COPD in a newspaper, magazine, or other publication.

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 would also like working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy and recruit new State Captains and volunteers.

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Shereen Bailey

Shereen Bailey Profile Photo Miamisburg, Ohio
ohio10@copdfoundation.org

I am a COPD advocate because I know so many who suffer from this disease could have a much better quality of life if we could only reach them. Almost everyone has, or knows someone who suffers from COPD, yet it is not talked about like so many other diseases. The paradigm need to change, and I want to help change it.

As State Captain I hope to change the perception that their isn’t much that can be done to change the quality of life for someone that has COPD.

My proudest COPD moment happened with a patient I had been caring for with severe COPD named John. When I first started caring for him, he was so short of breath and weak it was difficult for him to even get out of bed. We worked extensively on breathing retraining, pulmonary rehab, relaxation techniques, and disease education. My proudest COPD moment was when John stopped by to visit several weeks after he had discharged home. We were walking down the hall together. He had his portable oxygen concentrator over his shoulder and was laughing at me, because he was walking so quickly, I was struggling to keep up. It struck me at that moment that the work we do for these patients really do have the ability to change their entire lives dramatically.

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Martin Koehnlein

Martin Koehnlein Profile Photo Pasadena, MD
airguy100@yahoo.com

As a respiratory therapist, I am excited to utilize my skills, and background to advocate for COPD as a State Captain for Maryland. As a State Captain I hope to increase COPD awareness through engaging with state officials.

As a COPD advocate I have met, called, and emailed my elected officials, as well as have met with government agency officials. I have participated in health fairs and community events which promote COPD awareness, and I talk with friends and family about COPD.

As a State Captain, I am looking forward to participating, and promoting research to help find a cure, as well as working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD Policy. Additionally, I am interested in hosting and participating in community fundraisers, writing about COPD to share my story, and connecting others in the COPD community to resources available so they can live healthier, fuller, lives.

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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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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!