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

Kathy Laffoon

Kathy Laffoon Profile Photo South Chesterfield, Virginia

As respiratory therapist and the newest State Captain from Virginia, I hope to be able to work with others who share the passion of promoting COPD awareness. I would like to also make the younger generation aware of the impact smoking has not only on them, but those around them.

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 I have sent a letter to my members of Congress about COPD. I have also hosted a COPD fundraiser such as a Breathe Strong Rally and am a member of a support group.

As a State Captain, I hope to connect others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives, and raise 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 participate and promote research opportunities to help find a cure.

My proudest COPD moment was with my mother, a COPD patient, who referred to me as "my breath, without her I would not be here today".

My inspiration to share is, "You either have to a part of the solution, or you are going to be part of the problem" Eldridge Cleaver.

More about me, “I was diagnosed as a child with Asthma and lived in a household where both parents smoked. I originally graduated as a secondary school teacher but became a Respiratory Therapist when my youngest child was diagnosed with Asthma at age 2 following several trips to the local ER. I then returned to school and have been a therapist now for close to 30 years. Currently I work in a rehabilitation hospital where I oversee the Pulmonary Rehab program comprised mainly of COPD patients. My main job is to educate all pulmonary patients and families on what COPD or their particular disease is and how to take care of themselves”.


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!