Faces of COPD: Bret Denning says, ‘You aren’t alone in this fight.’

Posted on November 30, 2017   |   

As one of the newest team members at the COPD Foundation, Bret shares some valuable insights about his role and experiences to date. Read on to learn more.

Bret As the Grant Writer for the COPD Foundation (COPDF), Bret’s goal is to “help COPDF team members carry out their work and expand the efforts of the Foundation. This is a new position that was created a few months ago to diversify the Foundation’s funding streams.” We’re now starting to reach out to more Foundations and non-pharmaceutical corporations so support the organization as a whole and specific programs such as Harmonicas for Health.

Before joining COPDF, Bret “had heard of COPD but knew very little about it. One thing that amazed me was the reactions I got when I told people about my new position.”

He would often hear comments like “my mother (or sister, father, husband, friend, etc.) has COPD.” In one particular case, “a close friend told me she had been diagnosed with COPD more than 20 years ago and I didn’t even know! I was shocked by how prevalent the disease is.”

That’s why expanding the efforts of the Foundation is so important—whether it be through awareness, education, support, research or funding. And that’s where individuals can truly make a difference in people’s lives.

At COPDF, Bret “sees passion in every team member. The people here are incredibly dedicated to the organization’s mission of preventing and curing COPD and improving the lives of all people affected by this disease.”

In the short time he’s been with the Foundation Bret, like many others, has come across several misconceptions about COPD but “two common ones stick out the most. The first is that COPD is a ‘smoker’s disease’. As many as 25% of people with COPD have never smoked a cigarette in their life and there are many factors other than smoking that can cause the disease.”

The second, and perhaps more important one, is that “COPD is a death sentence. One of the goals of the Foundation is to help people LIVE with COPD. I’ve met many people who were diagnosed years ago and they continue to lead active and fulfilling lives.”

If you’ve been affected by COPD, Bret offers this advice: “Stay positive, listen to your doctors and try to find some kind of support system whether it’s in your community or an online group such as the COPD360social discussion forum. You aren’t alone in this fight.”


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