Archive for March, 2014

Make Your Ripple

March 24th, 2014 | Author: Katelyn Turner

Despite being the third leading cause of death in the U.S., COPD is still unknown to many people. Bhavya Malladi and her grandfather, Evani RJ Rao, were among those people when he was diagnosed with COPD in October 2012. Upon his diagnosis, the lack of awareness and knowledge of such a devastating disease shocked Bhavya. She has since made it her mission to educate people around her so that no one else she loved would have to suffer the way her grandfather is.

Evani, 70, spent his life working as a hydro-geologist in India, and was exposed to dust from open field drilling. Although he quit smoking at the age of 53, Bhavya attributes the toxic fumes from his job and 20 years of smoking to her grandfather’s diagnosis. Within a year of being diagnosed, his condition drastically worsened. As she lives in California, and her grandfather lives in India, long phone calls with him have unfortunately become a thing of the past, because simply talking for a long period of time is too exhausting for him.54294429-58e7-4663-a573-6dd5ac829dd3

A fond memory she holds of Evani are long walks with him and her brother to a local candy store in India where they would buy their favorite chocolates and candies. They would walk back home while listening to him tell stories of India. As the years have progressed, this tradition has become impossible for Evani.

Seeing this debilitating disease progress so rapidly, Bhavya began to ask herself, “Why is it still so unfamiliar to people?” Bhavya has decided to honor her grandfather by making a difference.

“Never underestimate the difference you can make. Remember, even a tiny drop can make ripples,” she says.

When her Rangapravesam, an Indian classical solo dance debut, approached, she decided to make a ripple. (Bhavya has been learning an Indian Classical dance form called Kuchipudi since she’s been five. Rangapravesam is an event when the teacher introduces the student to a bigger audience. This event is a student’s solo repertoire two hours long, with a live orchestra.)

In lieu of flowers and gifts for her performance, she asked her guests to donate to the COPD Foundation through her online fundraising page on FirstGiving. She included a small pamphlet in her invitations, and also set up an information booth with COPD brochures for the 500+ attendees. This was her opportunity to spread awareness in her own way.

Bhavya’s ultimate goal is “to spread the word about this disease, so people know about it and take care of it in its early stages,” something they could not do for her grandfather.

To date, she has raised $3,428 for the COPD Foundation’s efforts to spread awareness, educate members of the community, and to one day find a cure.

You too can do your part and make your ripple. Contact the COPD Foundation to find out how you can set up your own Firstgiving fundraising page and make a difference just like Bhavya continues to do.

Please call 1-866-316-2673 or visit: www.COPDFoundation.org for more information.

What is COPD? Share Your COPD Knowledge

March 17th, 2014 | Author: Katelyn Turner

You know the stats:

  • COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • 24 million Americans have COPD
  • 12 million Americans remain undiagnosed
  • COPD takes 1 life every 4 minutes

We’ve taken the stats you know about COPD, and put them into an easy-to-understand video, intended to encourage individuals to get their lung health tested through our 5-question Risk Screener.

We ask that you share this video with your colleagues, friends, caregivers, spouses, family members, neighbors–anyone you think it would help. Education is key to the management and treatment of COPD.

To learn more, please visit the COPD Foundation website, or call the C.O.P.D. Information Line at (866) 316-COPD (2673).

Shaming and Blaming

March 7th, 2014 | Author: Fabiana Talbot

The dreaded question for individuals living with COPD is “Did you smoke?” So much is insinuated in three simple words, and so many in our community have to withstand the stigma associated with the disease.  All too often, people with COPD are afraid to reach out for help, let alone raise awareness for the disease, because they believe in the end they will be shamed and blamed for smoking.

Smoking does cause 75% of COPD – but did you know that 25% of COPD patients have never smoked? Environmental,

(taken from Pinterest.com)

(taken from Pinterest.com)

occupational, and genetic factors also cause respiratory diseases.  If you did or do smoke however, know that you are not alone. If you feel stigmatized for your condition, just reach out to our COPD community on Facebook or call the C.O.P.D. Information Line at 1 866 316 2673. What is important now is not to look at the past with regret and shame, but to the future with strength and hope. No one has the right to take that away from you.

This leads me to a piece of news that broke this week. Online news site, Mail Online, reported that late actress Shirley Temple Black was, “…a secret smoker who died from lung disease.” When she passed last month, her family did not disclose COPD as the cause of death, perhaps out of fear that she might be stigmatized for smoking.

This is just one example of an individual who had to live in silence about a disease that is the third leading cause of death in the United States. We hope those living with COPD today will come out of the shadows and help educate others about the nature of the disease. We believe the “shame and blame” culture will decline over time with greater awareness and education about the disease.

We are proud of all of our community members who speak out about COPD, and have the courage to stand up to those who may judge and marginalize us.

Have you been “shamed and blamed” for developing COPD? How did you deal with it? Please share in the comments section.