Diane LeDonne, Northern Virginia Resident
Diane LeDonne, Northern Virginia Resident
Northern Virginia resident, 71 year old, Diane LeDonne has spent her life dedicated to getting the most out of life and serving her country. As a scientist, retired Navy nurse, breast cancer survivor, world traveler, and social media enthusiast – getting diagnosed with moderate Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) was both unexpected and unsettling.

Developing asthma late in life, she was not prepared for the diagnosis of COPD in 2009. "Once I heard the news, I knew, as a Registered Nurse, basically what to expect,” says LeDonne. “However, I knew I had to educate myself on how to not only survive, but ensure I could continue to enjoy my passions as much and as long as possible."

One thing she didn’t consider – air quality. However, when her pulmonary specialist physician enrolled her in a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program in Northern Virginia, she learned about her illness and the importance of paying attention and modifying behaviors as needed. She investigated online and signed up for AirAlerts and downloaded the free Air Quality App (iphone and android).

Once she started following the daily notifications, she realized her symptoms were greatly influenced by poor air quality – in particular, her difficulty breathing. “I found Clean Air Partners and my life instantly changed,” says LeDonne. “The reports gave me the freedom to travel and enjoy myself outdoors again. I realized I have to be careful during Code Orange and Code Red air quality days.”

An example of how limiting air quality can be for someone with COPD occurred just last year on a baseball vacation. Throwing caution to the wind, she attended a baseball game in St. Louis not realizing the temperature that August day was 107 degrees. After walking just one block, she had difficulty breathing and had to take breaks walking. Later, she discovered the air quality had been Code Red.

“Once I was inside my hotel, I was much better – but, it was a great lesson for me,” says LeDonne. “Now, when I plan my travel, I locate the Air Quality Index for each area. I can have COPD, but with Clean Air Partners – I can enjoy the things I like to do outside my home, when the air quality is optimum for me.”

Diane is one of the many who use AirAlerts as a vital tool in their everyday life. She encourages everyone and especially those with respiratory and/or pulmonary conditions to sign-up. The AirAlerts are free and are sent directly to email (also available through the forecast widget and Clean Air Partners Air Quality App).