Meet Your COPD Foundation Captains!

COPD Foundation 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. If you are interested in joining our group of volunteers, click here.

If you'd like to speak with a COPD Foundation Captain directly, please email and we will connect you with the Captain in your area of interest.

Karen Deitemeyer

Karen Deitemeyer Profile Photo Melbourne, Florida

I’m a COPD Advocate because I have COPD and want to help make a difference for the 30 million Americans with COPD. When I was growing up, it was considered “cool” to smoke cigarettes – we now know the dangers and many of us are living with COPD as a result. I want to bring awareness to the many who still use tobacco products and to the youth who may be tempted to start. And recently I’ve become aware of the many youth who believe that vaping isn’t dangerous – but it is, as we are beginning to learn.

As an Advocate I hope to educate Congress about our COPD Community and what we need and as a State Captain I hope to have made a difference in the lives of others diagnosed with COPD by showing them that it is possible to live well with COPD. I hope to be successful in encouraging others to join the COPD PPRN so that one day there will be a cure. My proudest COPD moment was being honored with the COPD Advocacy Award in New York City on November 2nd, 2017. And a close runner-up was sharing my story at a Congressional Briefing in Washington, DC.

As a COPD advocate I have spoken with pharmaceutical companies about living with COPD; presented at a Congressional Briefing; participated in the National COPD Action Plan Town Hall in DC and the follow-up workshop a few years later; attended COPDUSA7 and 8; presented at COPD Breathe Strong Florida events; spoken to public schools; to respiratory therapist students; and at many Florida COPD Coalition workshops. Recently I was a panelist speaking to a group of pulmonary physicians about life with COPD and also recently was part of a webinar on collaborative care. I am on the Governing Board of the COPD Foundation’s PPRN (Patient Powered Research Network), am Secretary for the US COPD Coalition and am a member of the ALA’s COPD National Patient Advisory Board. I have met with many staffers of Florida representatives during lobby days and met with Representative Bill Posey directly to discuss access to respiratory therapist access.

My inspiration to share is from The Lorax, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get done. It’s not.”


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!