DRIVE4COPD and The Country Music Association Set the Stage for the Next Voice of COPD Awareness
RIDGEFIELD, Conn., May 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Landmark public health campaign DRIVE4COPD announced today that Tim Wright was chosen from more than 150 entries as the winner of the Tune Up for COPD Songwriting Competition. DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Ambassadors Billy Ray Cyrus and Patty Loveless were among the judges for the competition, launched in partnership with the Country Music Association (CMA), which challenged Americans to create a new DRIVE4COPD song to help raise awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
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Wright, 59, from Carmel, Ind., will perform his song, "Just As Long As I Can Breathe," as the opening act for Cyrus at the CMA Music Festival on June 11. Cyrus will provide a few insider performance tips and introduce Wright to the audience before both singers take the stage.
"As a musician, the best way I know how to inspire people is through song," said Cyrus, whose grandfather suffered from symptoms of COPD. "It has been rewarding to see songwriters across the country rise to the challenge and help lend their voices to COPD awareness."
The impartial panel of judges selected Wright as the winner because his song most closely aligned with the DRIVE4COPD mission to encourage people to be proactive in taking control of their health.
"You can get advice many times and not truly hear it until it's put into song," said Loveless, who last year wrote the DRIVE4COPD campaign anthem in memory of her sister who died of COPD at age 48. "It was amazing to see the impact of my song 'Drive' when I performed it at last year's CMA Music Festival and I hope Mr. Wright has a similarly empowering experience."
In addition, more than 11,000 people voted for their "Fan Favorite." Rod Richmond's song "Breathe Free," will be featured online at DRIVE4COPD.COM, where people can also download Loveless' song "Drive."
COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both, is a serious lung disease that robs people of their ability to breathe. An estimated 24 million Americans may have COPD but approximately half don't know it and remain undiagnosed.
DRIVE4COPD encourages Americans age 35 or older to log onto DRIVE4COPD.COM to take a brief, five-question screener to see if they might at risk for COPD and talk to a healthcare professional about their results.
Launched in February 2010, DRIVE4COPD is a landmark public health movement embraced by leading health, business, entertainment and sports organizations to drive fundamental change in COPD awareness in this country. This initiative aims to focus national attention on this common and debilitating disease and reach millions of Americans about the need for early detection.
The unified efforts of the DRIVE4COPD network of organizations help people identify symptoms of COPD, take action to see if they may be at risk for the disease, and talk to their healthcare professional. The campaign is driven by a powerful coalition of organizations including the American Association for Respiratory Care, Country Music Association, COPD Alliance, COPD Foundation, NASCAR®, U.S. COPD Coalition, and founding sponsor Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Joining this movement are DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Ambassadors* including Emmy-nominated actor Jim Belushi, multi-platinum recording artist and television star Billy Ray Cyrus, Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner, Grammy Award-winning country music star Patty Loveless, Go Daddy and NASCAR Nationwide Series™ Driver Danica Patrick, and Pro Football great Michael Strahan. Each has lost a loved one to COPD and has seen first-hand the impact of the disease.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is also known as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. This disease makes it harder to breathe because less air is able to flow in and out of the lungs. As many as 24 million Americans may have COPD – even those who haven't smoked in years – and half of them remain undiagnosed. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. It kills one person every four minutes and more people each year than breast cancer and diabetes combined.
Common symptoms of COPD include coughing, with or without mucus, or shortness of breath. These symptoms are often confused with normal signs of aging. As COPD progresses, symptoms tend to get worse and more damage occurs in the lungs. Breathing gradually becomes more difficult until people with COPD feel like they are inhaling and exhaling through a small straw.
DRIVE4COPD Partnering Organizations
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the founding sponsor of the campaign, has joined forces with a cross-section of organizations to raise the profile of COPD in America:
American Association for Respiratory Care
The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is the leading national and international professional association for respiratory care. The AARC encourages and promotes professional excellence, advances the science and practice of respiratory care, and serves as an advocate for patients and their families, the public, the profession and the respiratory therapist. To learn more about the AARC visit the website at www.aarc.org or visit our consumer website www.yourlunghealth.org.
CMA Music Festival
Since beginning as Fan Fair® in 1972, CMA Music Festival has hosted thousands of visitors from across the globe and celebrated the unique bond between Country Music artists and its fans. The event, which USA Today calls "the crown jewel of Country Music festivals," has become Nashville's signature music event, which raises millions of dollars for music education in Metro Nashville Public Schools. The event will also be filmed for an ABC Television Network special to air later this summer. Four-day ticket packages are on sale and fans can purchase tickets through Ticketmaster at Ticketmaster.com or 1-800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased through CMAfest.com or 1-800-CMA-FEST.
The COPD Alliance was formed to provide primary care clinicians with timely information, tools and support to facilitate the recognition, diagnosis and treatment of COPD. The Alliance is composed of multidisciplinary societies whose commitment is to help primary care clinicians improve their patients' quality of life through early diagnosis and management of COPD. For additional information and resources for the clinician and patient, visit www.copd.org.
The COPD Foundation is a not-for-profit organization created in 2004, and has become the COPD community's forefront organization, driven by the individuals affected by COPD, that has addressed educational, research and advocacy issues that concern the community in order to improve the quality of life for the 24 million Americans affected by COPD. For more information about the COPD Foundation and its programs, call the C.O.P.D. Information Line at 1-866-316-COPD (2673) or visit the website at www.copdfoundation.org.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for one of North America's premier sports. NASCAR sanctioned races are broadcast in more than 150 countries and 20 languages. NASCAR® fans are the most brand-loyal in all of sports, and as a result more Fortune 500 companies participate in NASCAR than any other sport. DRIVE4COPD is the Official Health Initiative of NASCAR®.
U.S. COPD Coalition
Since 2001, the U.S. COPD Coalition has connected major professional, government, academic and patient organizations, all with the objective to improve the lives of people with COPD. The U.S. COPD Coalition's programs help to promote COPD awareness and education, enhance the effectiveness of member organization/partners' COPD efforts and ensure lawmakers hear the collective voice of the COPD Community.
About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation (Ridgefield, CT) and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.
The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 145 affiliates and more than 42,000 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.
As a central element of its culture, Boehringer Ingelheim pledges to act socially responsible. Involvement in social projects, caring for employees and their families, and providing equal opportunities for all employees form the foundation of the global operations. Mutual cooperation and respect, as well as environmental protection and sustainability are intrinsic factors in all of Boehringer Ingelheim's endeavors.
In 2010, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of approximately $16.7 billion (about 12.6 billion euro) while spending almost 24% of net sales in its largest business segment, Prescription Medicines, on research and development.
For more information, please visit http://us.boehringer-ingelheim.com and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/boehringerus.
*DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Ambassadors are paid spokespeople of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
COPD Screener is a trademark of QualityMetric Incorporated.
NASCAR® is a registered trademark of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. The NASCAR Nationwide Series™ word mark use used under license by NASCAR, Inc., and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.
©2011 Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. All rights reserved.
DRIVE4COPD is a trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
SOURCE Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.