NASCAR® Takes on Country Music in Competition to Get Fans Screened for Risk of COPD

DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Ambassadors Call on Nation to Get Screened and Wear ORANGE -- the Official Color of COPD Awareness -- in Recognition of Second Annual Great American Screen Off

Oct 26, 2011, 09:20 ET from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

RIDGEFIELD, Conn., Oct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Landmark public health campaign DRIVE4COPD today kicked off a high-profile social media competition led by DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Ambassadors* Danica Patrick and Patty Loveless to see who can get the most people screened for risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) during the two weeks leading up to the Great American Screen Off on November 4, 2011.  

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In the two-week, head-to-head social media contest, Go Daddy and NASCAR Nationwide Series™ and IndyCar Driver, Danica Patrick, is teaming with NASCAR® to take on Grammy Award-winning country music star Patty Loveless and the Country Music Association (CMA). CMA is a DRIVE4COPD partnering organization and DRIVE4COPD is the Official Health Initiative of NASCAR. Using Twitter, e-mails to fans, Facebook and other tools at their fingertips, each team will encourage their fans and followers to take the screener, share it with loved ones, and educate others about COPD, which affects an estimated 24 million Americans.

"Last year the Great American Screen Off took on four cities to see where we could get the most people screened. This year we're going further and taking it nationwide to help find the millions who may be at risk for COPD and don't know it," said Patrick, whose grandmother suffered from COPD. "My friendly competition with Patty is about making a difference and motivating people to take that first step to find out if they may be at risk, and it can be done right in the privacy of their own home."

COPD includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both. It kills more people in the United States each year than breast cancer and diabetes combined, and is the only major leading cause of death that is on the rise; yet as many as half of those who may have the disease remain undiagnosed.  People age 35+ are encouraged to log onto DRIVE4COPD.COM to take a five-question screener to determine their risk for this progressive disease and share the results with their healthcare professional.

The Great American Screen Off

The social media competition is part of a series of activities taking place to heighten awareness of COPD, individual risk and the burden on our nation. The competition will culminate on November 4, 2011, the official date of the Second Annual Great American Screen Off, which is believed to be the largest single day dedicated to screening for risk and raising awareness of COPD.  

On this one-day wake-up call to inform the public about the importance of early COPD screening and detection, the DRIVE4COPD partnering organizations are encouraging all Americans to wear the color orange the new official color of COPD – to remind others to be screened and to help heighten awareness. On this day, men and women aged 35 or older are encouraged to join the more than 2 million Americans already screened to see if they may be at risk for COPD.

*DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Ambassadors are paid spokespeople of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

"Orange was officially named the color of COPD awareness at a Washington, D.C. Congressional Briefing earlier this month," said Patrick. "Together with the U.S. COPD Coalition (USCC) we encouraged policymakers, healthcare professionals, organizations and the general public to get involved in the movement and encourage their constituents to get involved in the second annual Great American Screen Off."  

Partnering organizations and retailers across the country are supporting the movement with local activities. Throughout the month of November, DRIVE4COPD will work with pharmacies across the country to incorporate the screener into their wellness clinics and flu shot programs.  Respiratory therapist members of the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) are adopting organizations across the country to bring COPD education and screening to their employees, customers and members.  

About DRIVE4COPD

Launched in February 2010, DRIVE4COPD is a landmark public health movement embraced by leading health, business, entertainment and sports organizations that are aimed at driving fundamental change in COPD awareness in this country. This initiative aims to help millions of people affected by COPD by focusing national attention on this common and debilitating disease. DRIVE4COPD has helped more than 2 million people get screened and of those, 20 percent discovered that they may be at risk.

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, regional partnering organization Breathe California of Los Angeles County, and founding sponsor Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Joining this movement are DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Ambassadors including multi-platinum recording artist and television star Billy Ray Cyrus, Grammy Award-winning country music star Patty Loveless, and Go Daddy and NASCAR Nationwide Series™ Driver Danica Patrick. Each has lost a loved one to COPD and has seen first-hand the impact of the disease. The Celebrity Ambassadors are paid spokespeople of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

About COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is also known as chronic bronchitis, emphysema or both. 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. 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.

Country Music Association

More than 6,000 music industry professionals and companies around the globe are members of the Country Music Association. Formed in 1958 as the first trade association for a single genre of music, the organization's objectives are to serve as an educational and professional resource for the industry while advancing the growth of Country Music around the world. This is accomplished through CMA's strategic imperatives - CMA Music Festival and the CMA Awards. For information about CMA visit www.CMAworld.com.

COPD Alliance

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.  

COPD Foundation

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.

NASCAR

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.

COPD Population 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.

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SOURCE Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.



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