Jackie English

”COPDI am 50 years old, live in Illinois, am married to my caring husband Dave, have 3 beautiful kids and their spouses, and 5 grandkids that I adore.

I was diagnosed with Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency in June of 2010 at the age of 39 when my children were 21 (Michael), 18 (Danyelle), and 11 (Tyler). My life completely changed that year. I had many appointments with pulmonary specialists and many different tests including CT scans, x-rays, breathing tests, blood tests, and more. It was a very scary time at first.

When I was still able to work, I was a CNA (for 20+ years) and a cook at our county jail. I really miss working but found many ways to fill my time and keep me moving including watching my grandkids and advocating for others like me.

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After much research and getting to know the Alpha 1 community, I became an advocate and support group leader. I helped start a nonprofit for Alpha 1 patients (alongside my friend Deb Burwell) in 2012.

I’m fortunate to have the help of my family, friends, and my Alpha 1 & COPD families to help keep me going.

In my free time, I love watching my children and grandchildren with their sports and hobbies which include demolition derbies, basketball, volleyball, and many other family activities. Someday I hope to get out of Illinois for the winter and enjoy the sun in Florida or Arizona.

Life surely changes when you find out that you have a chronic illness, 36% lung function, need oxygen 24/7, and that the condition can be fatal. However, after learning to advocate for myself, take care of myself through a good diet and exercise, tend to my mental health, and allow family and friends to help when needed, I found out that...“I’ve got this!!!!!”

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