Adam was born and raised in Vancouver, where he currently lives. He is a proud dad to his daughter who is graduating from high school this year.
Adam was diagnosed with COPD in 2006 after years of workplace exposure to chemicals. Adam heard about the CSC through his Respiratory Therapist and COPD support group. He jumped at the chance to join the CSC as a way to help others with respiratory illness. Adam understands the importance of awareness and access to support and services for people living with COPD. He has participated in pulmonary rehab and other programs at St. Paul’s hospital from which he feels has benefitted him immensely.
Mary-Frances has a lot of experience with lung issues. She was diagnosed with asthma in her 30s and more recently learned she has COPD. After graduating (twice!) from the pulmonary rehab program at Vancouver General Hospital, she noticed a lack of support for anyone with lung issues looking to continue being active in the community. This inspired Mary-Frances to start a support group for people dedicated to staying active after rehab. What started as a monthly informal gathering grew into five days per week for exercise maintenance and support during COVID-19 restrictions. She loves finding ways to stay active while living with lung disease.
Mary-Frances was a full-time mother who went into accounting when her husband retired. She now has nine grandchildren and likes to knit, sew, and do puzzles. Originally from Ontario, she now lives in Vancouver.
Santa Chow (co-chair)
Growing up in a household with several heavy smokers, Santa was diagnosed with asthma at the age of three. She still struggles to keep her severe asthma under control. Santa’s professional background is in business development and project management, and more recently as a project manager. She has worked internationally and locally and has a degree in psychology.
Santa is a dedicated volunteer and brings her personal and professional experience to help make things happen. Santa brings many years’ experience as a patient partner for airway health research. She also volunteers with her church and in Vancouver’s various communities. Santa is focused on building strong relationships within the CSC and cares deeply about her fellow members.
Hello everyone! My name is Garry Fedoriuk. I worked in the forest industry for 40 years plus. I sustained a work-related injury and was diagnosed with industrial bronchitis COPD. I’m looking forward to hopefully being an asset to LAH CSC.
I was very flattered and pleased to be asked to become a member of CSC. In a very short time, I have learned so much from everyone.
My diagnosis for moderate COPD was about 4 years ago. I had already quit smoking after 60 years and my doctor thought it would be a good idea for me to be tested.
I’m 81 years old and live a fairly active life attending aquafit classes 4x a week, which definitely helps with all health issues. I have some balance issues due to vestibular neuritis, macular degeneration, and a fractured hip in 2021. This prevents me from walking too far for too long and with the aid of walking poles I can enjoy walks with my son. The joke is he walks the dogs then walks the mom.
I was born in Edmonton, lived in Hawaii for 10 years where I sold real estate, moved to Vancouver in 1984, and worked in the travel industry until 2003.
Lisa was born into an industrial city and a household of smokers and suffered recurrent pneumonia and bronchitis in her early life. She grew up with a scary feeling that she would die from poor lung health. She could not get relief except by living in an allergen-free bubble until asthma was finally diagnosed and treated in her 40s. Now in her 60s, she is relieved to have her symptoms under control without having to live in a bubble.
When her asthma was not in control, it created barriers in her personal and professional life, especially when traveling and speaking. Lisa retired young, partly for those reasons, and now sets her own pace, volunteering for several non-profit groups. Her professional and volunteer focus has been related to the health of the planet, and she is keen to learn more about respiratory health. The skills she offers to CSC include project management, public communication, and group facilitation.
Jim grew up in Ireland and moved to Hong Kong where he and his wife taught English for 10 years. Eleven years ago, they made Vancouver their home. Jim also worked in the Pharmaceutical industry for several years in various roles, including in quality control and drug preparation. In 2013, he was diagnosed with COPD. Through a referral from his respirologist, he was able to join a pulmonary rehabilitation program. After completing the program, he saw huge improvements in his breathing and felt hopeful that he could continue to improve his quality of life. Jim joined the CSC to be able to give back to the community. He is interested in contributing to research and programs aimed at finding solutions and making things better for people living with lung disease.
Tiniel first learned about Legacy for Airway Health from one of her doctors. She was diagnosed with COPD in her 30s after a history of substance abuse, but she succeeded in quitting drugs and smoking and she hopes to become eligible for a double lung transplant. Tiniel joined the CSC to learn from other people living with COPD and to share her experience. She is interested in how care is provided for lung patients and is learning how patients like her can contribute to research.
A life-long Vancouver Islander, Tiniel now lives in the interior of BC with her family where she enjoys baking (and baking shows on TV), reading, and helping her neighbours. She is looking forward to doing more volunteer work to help seniors in her community.
My name is Bernie Lafrance and I am a Patient Advisor with Island Health. My life has been wide and educational as well, a great experience, raised on a farm back in St Paul, Alberta. In April 1961 joined the RCAF, where I served for 27 years traveling the world. I was diagnosed with asthma in 1990.
I became a Patient Advisor when during my work with Better Breather’s went to an office and while waiting for someone, saw a poster on the back of a door inviting anyone interested to assist with our health care system to join this opportunity. This has involved me with different committee’s which were varied and saw many wonderful changes, especially in management, electronics, and personnel. It has been a truly wonderful experience.
I’m Tony Lanier and I live in metro Vancouver but I spent many years in New York City and Los Angeles. Besides the economic shifts that were taking place during the 1960s, the quality of air in North America was compromised by the use of coal, leaded auto gasoline products, and nautical diesel output. Fast forward, my asthma worsened and there was a lack of attention controlling the asthma by clinicians and myself. I ignored the symptoms.
I joined the Legacy for Airway Health Community Stakeholder Committee because I believe asthma should be identified early and systematically managed. Furthermore, the sufferers should be properly educated about the condition and receive quality follow-up treatment to help keep asthma under control. Lung ailments shouldn’t be an afterthought. As a member of the CSC, my hope is to bring attention to some of the gaps we’ve experienced and offer ideas that could potentially be used as medical protocols for lung-related illnesses in BC.
Sue Lutz, also known as The Artist Snoozen, has been a member of the CSC from the conception of the idea to the present day. She joined the team with the understanding that the struggles she faces in her health battles might assist researchers to understand the patient more effectively. Throughout this first year of Legacy, her role is that of a CSC team member who assists in meetings and participates in research studies.
Anna Rychtera (co-chair)
I am a Health Sciences College Educator and former Nurse Practitioner and Natural Health Practitioner. I have experience working in rural and remote areas (Nunavut) and in a variety of settings and diverse cultures.
My lived experience with chronic respiratory illness, chronic nerve pain (after a sports injury and delayed surgery), and as a cancer survivor, taught me the importance of being an informed patient and an equal partner in health care and decision making. I was a long-time volunteer facilitator and Health Coach for UVic’s self-management programs and still am a “First Link” Peer Support for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
My engagement with the BC SUPPORT Unit and CIHR started as a co-facilitator for the CIHR pilot program for SPOR and later publication of “Co-building a patient-oriented research curriculum.” My interest is in advancing health research; improving health outcomes; and achieving equity, diversity, and inclusion for all. Besides the CSC, I am also a member of Clinical Trials BC and the BC SUPPORT Unit Advisory Council, and co-chair of the Provincial Patient Council.
Jagmit graduated from UBC with a degree in science. He hopes to attend medical school and contribute to improving health as a physician researcher. Jagmit’s interest in airways diseases comes from growing up in a family affected by asthma. His father has asthma, and he cared for his late grandpa who also suffered from asthma. As a CSC member, Jagmit hopes to learn more about the research process, interact with health researchers, and contribute to creating new knowledge by participating as a community stakeholder. He loves the outdoors and spends time hiking during the summer and snowboarding during winter. He lives in the Lower Mainland.
Dan was born in Vancouver 77 years ago and now lives in Surrey. He was diagnosed with COPD about 10 years ago. COPD didn’t stop Dan’s love of travel and he has found a way to do a lot of overseas travel over the past 8 years. Closer to home, Dan has completed several respiratory disease management courses with Fraser Health, and also shares his story to help other patients live well with COPD.
My name is Erin Wiebe. I have lived in small BC Interior or Kootenay towns all my life and I have 2 young adult children. In the last 2.5 years, I have also spent a significant amount of time in the Vancouver area for medical care.
Growing up, both my children both had asthma but outgrew it. I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma at age 12. My asthma has progressed and has become increasingly difficult to manage over the last 30 years. I got my first bout with pneumonia when I was 15 and have had it every winter since. I have other chronic health issues that I have also developed coping mechanisms for over time.
I contracted COVID-19 in early 2021, which caused additional lung issues, which is proving to be more complex to manage than pre-COVID-19. I have Long COVID and am grateful for the care I am now receiving from VGH and St. Paul’s Hospital specialists. I contracted COVID-19 for a second time in May 2022.
Thanks to the PHSA Long COVID clinic team support, I am learning to function within my ‘energy envelope’ and now know that exceeding my daily energy points results in worsening of symptoms and that this has a ripple effect throughout my daily activities. The information regarding how recognizing your ‘energy envelope’ can be useful to help manage many chronic health issues in addition to Long COVID. The information can be found here: http://www.phsa.ca/health-info/post-covid-19-care-recovery
I work part-time as a behaviour interventionist for young children with autism. I absolutely love my job. It is very fulfilling and rewarding, though challenging at times. Previously, I worked in a hospital laboratory, ran my own licensed in-home daycare for several years while raising two children with ASD, and spent several years homeschooling my children.
I enjoy photography, boating, birding, and spending time in nature.
I am looking forward to contributing to and learning from being part of the Community Stakeholder Committee.