When John Walsh was first diagnosed with Alhpa-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, a genetic form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, he started on a journey that would change the way the world sees and responds to COPD. John co-founded the Alpha-1 Foundation and AlphaNet, and as he learned more about COPD, he realized that the problem went far beyond those suffering from Alpha-1. The COPD Foundation notes that in working with Alpha-1 "he discovered a much bigger and largely unrecognized community; those with COPD. Before that time, COPD was misunderstood, misdiagnosed, mistreated, underfunded and lacking adequate research" John sought to change that narrative, and in 2004 he founded the COPD Foundation.
Grace Anne Dorney Koppel, President of the COPD Foundation, remembers her friend and and challenges the COPD community to honor John's legacy by carrying the torch that he lit and carried with such passion. “In his youth, John W. Walsh was an actual warrior. The tenacity and courage he brought to his years in the military served him throughout his life. They were tempered by the enthusiasm and optimism he brought to every challenge, the inspiration he provided to every fellow COPD patient. John’s real legacy is the spark he created in all of us that we must nurture. He led us by example. The torch has been passed for us to continue as warriors for COPD.”
Read more about John Walsh and leave messages of condolence to John's family on the COPD Foundation's website: Remembering John Walsh