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What Christy Turlington's COPD Diagnosis Does for the Rest of Us

Updated on June 6, 2019

When supermodel Christy Turlington revealed she had emphysema, a wave of empathy and validation washed over the COPD community. “Wow. Even her, too?”

Three things happen for us when a celebrity opens up about a diagnosis and shares the fact of their chronic illness with us.

First, they help to destigmatize the disease. The condition becomes more visible and relatable. Suddenly, we see our friends and family changing their attitudes toward our condition, and even toward us.

Second, we feel more hopeful and inspired in our own life. Knowing that a celebrity is facing the same day-to-day struggles we do, all while under the glare of stardom, we are more endeared toward them. We especially feel a connection when they use their voice to bring visibility to COPD.

Finally, we feel empowered by the will of celebrities to step forward and take control of the narrative about their condition under intense media scrutiny. When they show the world what it means to live with COPD, they offer a roadmap and inspire confidence for how we might do the same.

Whether famous or not, the public acknowledgment of one’s disease is a brave act in the face of the stigma of chronic disease. As COPD awareness spreads, acceptance soon follows.

Is there a notable person who has inspired you? How do you feel about celebrities discussing their condition? Share in the comments below or post on MyCOPDTeam.

Updated on June 6, 2019

A MyCOPDTeam Member

When I was in the hospital having half my lung removed, a volunteer came in to see me - having had lung cancer and surgery as well, I found it very uplifting to speak with someone who not only had… read more

posted January 29
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