Hi! I am Elina Ikavalko, originally from Finland and currently living in Ireland. When you see me, you see a normal happy-go-lucky 30-something year old woman. But what you don’t see is that I have severe emphysema and COPD. I got diagnosed at the age of 26, which is quite young. I Still exercise on daily basis, do my cardio and lift weights. I am doing my best to keep my remaining health in check.
As a person living with the COPD, I have made it my life mission to raise awareness for COPD, show that younger people can get sick with it too. I hope to inspire and encourage others living with the condition. Ever since I got diagnosed, back in 2014, I felt so alone because I was so much younger than anyone else living with the condition. And it was hard to find any information of emphysema and COPD. So I started to share my experiences on social media, especially on my Instagram account, so that if someone else got diagnosed, and they would stumble on to my instagram account, they wouldn’t feel as alone as I did, that they would have someone they could reach out to.
I was part of #Speakup4COPD campaign (speakupforcopd.com) and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I also spoke at World EXPO, Healthcare resilience summit as a COPD patient and shared my experiences and it was important to get patient voices out there and make sure we are seen and heard.
Be the change you wish to see in the World.