Jean hails from Des Moines, Iowa and serves on the American Lung Association’s COPD Patient Advisory Group. She has been involved with the American Lung Association for over a decade and is also actively engaged with the COPD Foundation.
Jean was officially diagnosed with COPD in 2003 but suspects she had it as early as 1985. She was initially in denial about her diagnosis. Jean experienced lots of shortness of breath and had difficulty climbing the stairs. She was put on oxygen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
After being hospitalized in early 2003, Jean decided to undertake an extensive diet and exercise program. Over the course of 18 months, she lost more than 100 pounds and developed a consistent exercise routine. As a result, she was able to get off of oxygen completely and see her medications reduced by 75%.
Roughly ten years following her hospitalization, Jean realized she still needed oxygen for air travel. One of the challenges she learned to navigate as a COPD patient was acquiring a portable oxygen unit. She was also able to get liquid oxygen for home use and exercise.
Jean first got involved with the American Lung Association in Des Moines in 2010. She was heavily engaged in the event that served as the pre-cursor to the LUNG FORCE Expo and became a board member in 2017. Jean is glad to serve as a member of the Lung Association’s COPD Patient Advisory Group.
Prior to her retirement in 2009, Jean managed organizations that provide vocational and residential services for people with disabilities. She currently works part-time as a peer surveyor for CARF International. In addition to volunteering, Jean’s hobbies include reading and listening to opera music. She also enjoys spending time with family; she has three daughters, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Jean understands the importance of an active lifestyle: her email signature quote is “exercise not only lets me live; it enables me to have a life.”