In January, Grace Anne Dorney Koppel and her husband Ted Koppel cut the white ribbon enlacing the glass doors of St. Marys Hospitals new cardiopulmonary rehabilitation facility. This momentous occasion for the Koppels marked the beginning of their journey to spreading awareness and assistance for communities around the nation in need for a pulmonary rehab program.
From left to right: Ted Koppel, Diane Walsh, John Walsh and Grace Anne Dorney Koppel
St. Marys Hospital in Leonardtown, MD is the first and only pulmonary rehab program within a 35-mile radius, according to Joan Gelrud, RN, Vice President of St. Marys Hospital.
The hospital is offering a critical resource to the community, especially to those who were on the waiting list for the program to start.
Equipped with the latest exercise machines, health care professionals (including respiratory therapists, nurses and physicians) will be part of the staff to help many individuals improve their health and take control of their life. In addition, a Better Breathers Club support group will soon begin meeting at the hospital.
Staff members involved in the development of this new program received mentorship from their partners at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.
Grace Anne Dorney and husband Ted Koppel,cutting the ribbon at St. Mary's HospitalCardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center, in Leonardtown, MD.
The facility was named after Grace Anne Dorney, spokesperson for the COPD: Learn More Breathe Better campaign and champion for pulmonary rehab awareness. Her husband Ted approached St. Marys with the idea last year and donated funds to help open the center in her honor. On her birthday, he surprised her with the gift.
Dorney has been promoting pulmonary rehab awareness ever since she joined as spokesperson for the campaign. She always attributed pulmonary rehabilitation to the vast improvement in her quality of life.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Dorney spoke to health care professionals and journalists in the audience. After reading the latest mortality statistics on COPD, she asked the provocative question: Does that get your attention
It is her desire to work around the nation to open up a pulmonary rehab facility in an underserved community in every state. She said that this new facility will help more individuals in the area receive the access to care they need.
At the conclusion of her speech, Dorney left her fellow COPDers with the infamous words by poet Dylan Thomas:
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.