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Karen Deitemeyer

I am 70, retired, and live in Florida with my husband, Bill. We have two children and three grandchildren. A former heavy smoker, I was officially diagnosed with COPD in 2001 but continued working for another seven years before retiring, partially due to COPD, as well as a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2008.

Since retirement I have become involved with many organizations which emphasize education and support for the community of COPD patients and caregivers along with advocacy and awareness of COPD as a major health issue.

I am a State Advocacy Captain for the COPD Foundation; a member of the Governing Board of the COPD PPRN (Patient Powered Research Network); participated in the 1st Annual State of Florida COPD Summit; in various COPD/Alpha-1 Community Workshops throughout Florida; in National COPD Conferences; in Lobby Days at both State and Federal levels; and I was the patient "face" for the DRIVE4COPD Campaign. I am on the advisory team for a new initiative, "Breathe Strong Florida", and was a patient participant at the NIH's COPD Town Hall Meeting in Washington, D.C., to help formulate a National COPD Action Plan. I serve on local American Lung Association committees; have spoken to student RT's; to ALA interns; was a speaker for the 2014 and 2015 ALA LungForce Expos in Orlando; and am an active member of several on-line email and Facebook support groups.

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