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

Phyliss DiLorenzo

Phyliss DiLorenzo Profile Photo Brooklyn, NY

My name is Phyliss DiLorenzo. I live in Brooklyn; New York and I was diagnosed with COPD four years ago. I had earlier symptoms that I put off to getting older and being out of shape.

I quit smoking 5 months before my diagnosis. I am do glad that I did! What brought me to be diagnosed was pneumonia.

I saw my PCP, who sent me for an X-Ray. It was then I was told I have emphysema and battling a pneumonia infection and was given a rescue inhaler and medication.

Throughout that first year, I was short of breath on a daily basis. I received a nebulizer and another rescue inhaler. All of these were short acting bronchodilators, or SABAS, which gave only temporary relief and didn’t help against exacerbations. I was treated in hospital 5 times, for bronchitis, flu, and exacerbations from other respiratory infections.

After a particularly severe exacerbation, hospitalized for 3 days, most time on a BiPAP machine, my PCP referred me to a pulmonologist. I took a PFT (pulmonary function test) and was given a prescription for a long-acting bronchodilator, or LABA, and an emergency action plan.

After a week or so, my breathing approved immensely.

My PCP admitted that he believed I had a milder COPD or even asthma. I was amazed to find out that my PCP could be wrong about my condition and how to treat it. I now advise everyone to see a pulmonologist.

Now my journey with COPD has set me on the path of 3 goals. 1) To learn everything there is about COPD and its treatment, 2) to help others with education and advocacy, and 3) to finish the NYC Marathon ~ Not running, but speed walking!~ Keep your fingers crossed! I look forward to working with everyone and learning and sharing information!


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!