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Koppel, Wife Hope COPD Center Helps Others With Condition

Reported by: Send eMail Katy Brown
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Reported: Nov. 3, 2013 6:20 PM EST
Updated: Nov. 3, 2013 11:34 PM EST

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Koppel Opens Center
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Cabin Creek , Kanawha County , West Virginia

A new chronic obstructive pulmonary disease rehabilitation center opened in Cabin Creek this weekend, named in honor of Grace Anne Dorney, the wife of former Nightline host Ted Koppel.

Koppel and Dorney are proud to help make the new center possible.

The center is part of the couple's personal story that has made them want to help others.

If you ask Koppel why he and his wife opened a pulmonary rehabilitation center in Cabin Creek, the answer is simple.

"Because it's where the need is” he said. “A lot of people here in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky have trouble breathing, so there's a great need here."

Dozens celebrated the opening of the center, which bears Dorney's name.

It's one of three new facilities helping those with lung disease improve their quality of life.

“They will sit at home,” Koppel said. “They're on oxygen. They can't perform even the simplest of functions."

And Koppel knows that from watching his wife suffer.

"I could walk half a block,” Dorney said. “Then I had to stop to try to catch my breath, and I was not given much time."

In fact, when she was diagnosed with COPD in 2001, doctors gave her four years or less to live.

But Dorney was still determined to defy her death sentence.

After getting help through rehab centers, Dorney has beaten the odds, and is now a 13-year COPD survivor.

"Watching how she was able to improve her condition through physical pulmonary rehabilitation, we've been motivated to try to help other people do the same thing," Koppel said.

And by teaming up with Charleston Area Medical Center and Boone Memorial Hospital, the New River Health Association and Cabin Creek Health systems, three new rehab centers will give those with lung disease a chance to breathe again.

"Lung disease here is really a significant health challenge,” Dorney said. “You can get your life back, and that's my hope for the people here in West Virginia with lung disease."

The new rehab center will target treating patients with COPD and black lung.

This year, it hopes to work with at least 60 patients, a number that will likely double next year.

For more information on the center, visit the Cabin Creek Health Systems website



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