Respiratory Stories

Patients visit our campus every day, seeking our expert care for respiratory diseases. Read our patients' stories and learn how you can support our work in the research and treatment of respiratory conditions.

Finding Answers in Familiar Places
In January 2015, Marla Wood caught whatever was going around her office. The doctor told her, “It’s a bug. Hold your breath; you’ll get over it,” but she didn’t get over it. While her co-workers’ health improved, hers only got worse.

National Jewish Health Tour Leads to Life-Changing Care
Bob Feinberg first learned about National Jewish Health from his friends. Soon after, he became a committee member for the Spirit of Achievement Award Dinner. It wasn’t until he toured the institution that he learned what it means to be a patient.

Never Let Asthma Get in the Way
Severe asthma is a life-threatening disease, as Jake Cohn and Kailia Hill know all too well. National Jewish Health is conducting research to save lives threatened by severe asthma.

One Breath is All it Takes
Amanda, of Santa Fe, N.M., is an incredibly active 10 year old. She runs, plays soccer and tennis, plays the trumpet and truly enjoys life. You would never know that she has severe asthma. However, just a few months ago, her disease was so out of control that her entire family lived in fear that a severe asthma attack would take her life.

Help From a ‘World-Class Team’
Dust particles from the World Trade Center site caused Don Schrader to develop a lung condition called interstitial lung disease. After years of struggling with shortness of breath and other symptoms, Don came to National Jewish Health. Doctors here have been able to stop his disease from progressing and improve his quality of life.

The Right Mutation
When doctors discovered that Lou Ann Langley’s lung cancer had a specific genetic mutation, her life expectancy doubled.

The Drive to Find an Answer
When Isaiah Tarver became lethargic and his skin turned blue, his mother, Denise, knew it was time to head for the hospital.

Double-Lung Transplant Recipient Finds Hope at National Jewish Health
As a local, Dean Hutto already knew about the reputation of National Jewish Health. After he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 2011, however, he was especially grateful to have to access to the doctors and experts here to help him, and in September 2014, he underwent a double-lung transplant.

‘If You Were My Dad, I Would Want You to be Seen at National Jewish Health’
David Wedge, of Connecticut, searched for more than three years to get answers to why he was having breathing problems. His respiratory symptoms turned out to be related to an autoimmune disorder, something only doctors at National Jewish Health discovered. 

Steven Abrahamson's Interstitial Lung Disease

A Dogged Pursuit for Answers Leads to “the Best” Place
Steven Abrahamson was the picture of health when his lung capacity began declining rapidly. Then he was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease (ILD). Determined to keep living his life, Steven sought answers and treatment at home and on the web, which led him to National Jewish Health.

Mark McCormick IPF Story

Finding Hope for Himself and Others
Four years ago, Mark McCormick started having a persistent cough. His primary care doctor ordered a chest x-ray; however, he never received the results. A year later, Mark learned that he had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. “It took my breath away,” he said, but it didn’t stop him from seeking help and supporting other people like him.

Lungs Often Overlooked in Rheumatic Disease
Rheumatologist Aryeh Fischer, MD, looked beyond Laurie Cahill’s failing lungs to accurately diagnose her disease so she could once again enjoy life with husband, Jeff, and their dog.

Innovative Therapies New Hope for Pulmonary Fibrosis Patients
Ed Duncan shouldn’t be alive. He is among patients who have lived longer after taking new medications for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Living Without Limitations
Geraldine was active and healthy before being struck down by a mysterious ailment. Her health was in a steady decline and the treatments were “unbearable.” Her doctor in Florida recommended she come to National Jewish Health. Today, she is “at the best time” in her life.

Kenn Martin

Renewed Hope for the Future
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease slowly took away Kenn Martin’s ability to breathe or even go outside. With care from doctors and nurses at National Jewish Health and supplemental oxygen therapy, he is able to enjoy life again.  

‘We love National Jewish Health’
When a nagging cough was something more serious, Phyllis Johnson came to the sarcoidosis experts at National Jewish Health. Today, her condition is under control and she is enjoying life with her family in New Mexico.

Surviving Beyond Five Years
Rachel was lucky. A CT scan for digestive problems revealed a nodule on her lung, which brought her to Ali Musani, MD, and James Jett, MD, at National Jewish Health.

A cough that wouldn’t go away
Sharon Stuart was hospitalized twice for a cough that took her breath away before receiving a diagnosis of bronchiectasis. She came to National Jewish Health, where doctors collaborated to get her condition under control.

‘Morgridge Academy has been a lifesaver’
Zach Eighmy’s mother, Jamie, knew that he wouldn’t be able to attend a regular school due to his chronic health issues. They were relieved to find Morgridge Academy for chronically ill children, where Zach is thriving.

National Jewish Health patient Merlyn Paine

Beyond the Front Door
Three years ago Merlyn Paine rarely left her home in Nevada. She suffered from severe asthma that caused immediate breathing problems when she was exposed to strong scents such as perfumes and soaps.

Catching Her Breath
Candace Wollert was breaking records on the track but struggling to breathe when she exercised. A unique test developed at National Jewish Health uncovered the root of her problem, and helped Candace get her breath back.

‘Incredibly Grateful’
An autoimmune disease was robbing Heather Quilici of her ability to breathe. Doctors at National Jewish Health, who have specialized expertise in treating autoimmune lung conditions, stabilized her condition and greatly improved her quality of life.  

'National Jewish Health is supporting me'
When Bonnie Mandarich’s doctor saw a spot on the CT scan of her lung, he figured it was nothing to worry about. But when Bonnie saw a specialist at National Jewish Health for sinus trouble, the story soon changed.

Tye Adam

‘We love National Jewish Health’
Tye Adams’ asthma, sinus and reflux problems were so severe that doctors in Texas were running out of treatment options. The family turned to National Jewish Health. Now, his conditions are under control and he is active – playing sports and jumping on the trampoline.

Patient Gwen Colfer

Breathing Easier
Gwen Colfer spent three years struggling to breathe and searching for a diagnosis before coming to National Jewish Health. Doctors here found answers, and she is breathing easier today.

patient Ally Curry

‘Feeling healthy for the first time in my life’
Ally Curry has lived with asthma and allergies her entire life. She moved from California to Denver as a teenager to be closer to National Jewish Health. She calls the care she received here “a turning point” in her life.

John Matousek

Early Detection Leads to Successful Treatment
John Matousek feels “lucky” to be cancer free two years after a lung cancer diagnosis.

Jake Cohn

A Battle With Asthma
Jake Cohn almost died at birth due to respiratory problems. Today, he's a professional skier who doesn't let asthma get in his way.

Jennifer Champy

‘I just never knew that you could breathe like that.’
Jennifer Champy struggled to breathe for years before coming to National Jewish Health. The coordinated care she received has dramatically improved her health.

Dennis Breedlove

Chasing a Diagnosis
A chronic cough and shortness of breath sidelined avid runner Denny Breedlove for two years. Today, he is back to running after doctors at National Jewish Health uncovered a hidden condition.

Nadine Cochran

Cancer Free After Early Detection
Nadine Cochran was being treated for a gastrointestinal condition when a CT scan uncovered a hidden growth in her lung. She was referred to National Jewish Health, where doctors worked together to save her life.

John Hall

A life-changing diagnosis
For John Hall of Wyoming, a visit to National Jewish Health resulted in a new diagnosis and an "opportunity for an extended and fuller life."


Rebecca Aguirre

'National Jewish Health has been a positive experience for my family.'
Asthma and food allergies were keeping Rebecca Aguirre and her children, Bayleigh and Colin, from doing the things they enjoy. After receiving care at National Jewish Health, they have peace of mind and are able to bike, swim, and run again.

Lynda Mehrens

'A unique health care experience'
Lynda Mehrens turned to National Jewish Health for answers to her debilitating respiratory problems. She received a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan, and Lynda is able to enjoy life again.

Isabella Lenyo

'National Jewish Health has impacted our family beyond belief!'
Isabella Lenyo suffered from recurrent bouts of pneumonia for the first 6 years of her life. Finally, the Lenyo family found a doctor who shared their commitment to finding the root cause of Isabella’s condition. This extraordinary dedication would lead the family to National Jewish Health, and a definitive diagnosis.

Ursula Bollinger

'The best experience'
For ten years, an unknown lung condition was taking away Ursula Bollinger's ability to breathe. At National Jewish Health, she finally received a diagnosis and treatment plan that have transformed her life.

'I was able to do things that I could never do before.'
In March of 1971, when Nancy Ott, MD was 13 years old, she came to Denver for treatment of her asthma and allergies. The Children’s Treatment Center became her home for the next eight months.

Patricia Wallingford

A Hidden Condition
The coordinated care Patricia Wallingford received at National Jewish Health uncovered a digestive problem that was causing shortness of breath.

Dave Savage

Expert Care Improves Quality of Life for Patient with COPD
After years of living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Dave Savage’s condition and quality of life were declining. He found the help he needed from the experts at National Jewish Health.

Patricia Healy

Finding Answers After Years of Searching
After four years of living with shortness of breath and fatigue, Patricia “Pat” Healy felt like life was slipping away. Visits to numerous doctors and five different hospitals could not produce a definitive diagnosis. Finally, a four-day appointment at National Jewish Health provided Pat the answers she had been seeking.

Joan Ottenritter

Seeking Help for an Aggressive Lung Infection
Joan Ottenritter was a busy mother of two living an active life in Baltimore when she learned she had a rare, potentially deadly disease lurking in her lungs.

Tiauna Rivers

Kunsberg School Kept her Focused on Academics, not Asthma
Tiauna Rivers came from an underprivileged home and had severe asthma, which prevented her from attending school regularly.

Colette Kramer

What Seemed Like Asthma Was Much More Serious
When Colette Kramer's "complicated" health issues became more than even the experienced nurse could handle, only National Jewish Health was able to find the answers she needed.

Margarita Welling

Gasping for Air with Asthma
Margarita Welling first developed asthma while she was pregnant. After years of severe, life-threatening asthma attacks, she found help at National Jewish Health.

Sharon Volkman

A Second Opinion Gives Patient a Second Chance at Life Sharon Volkman believed she only had seven to 10 years to live until she came to National Jewish Health.

Helping Children Find Hope: Then and Now
Cary Quarles, who struggled to breathe as a child, said his year living on the National Jewish Health campus was “the best year of my life.”

Sondy Knitter

Coordinated Care to Treat Complex Cases
When Sondy Knitter’s lungs became so inflamed that she had to have a breathing tube, her doctor in Abilene, Kansas, and National Jewish Health pulmonologist Joshua Solomon, MD, decided it was time she come to Denver – quickly.

Rhonda Officer

Clinical Research Changes Lives
For two years, Rhonda Officer watched helplessly as her breathing capacity dropped relentlessly to half what it should have been. Her doctor at National Jewish Health wasn't ready to give up and initiated an off-label use of a medication, which stabilized her lung function.