RIDGEFIELD, Conn., March 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The DRIVE4COPD national public health initiative today announced its partnership with renowned American artist and sculptor Michael Kalish. Kalish will create a large-scale monument called 24M: The DRIVE4COPD Monument, inspired by the DRIVE4COPD campaign pinwheel icon. Kalish will use his signature medium, the license plate, to create 24 large-scale pinwheels representing the 24 million Americans who may be living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The sheer size and scale of 24M will represent all corners of the country and embody the breadth of the disease and its impact on America. The top of each pinwheel base will be in the shape of states so from an aerial view the monument can come together and form the contiguous United States. The monument will also consist of 2400 license plates, and the number of license plates used from each state will reflect that state's percentage of the U.S. population affected by COPD. 24M is expected to be the size of half of a football field and will be unveiled in New York City in mid-2011 before travelling to Texas, Florida and California. These four states have the highest prevalence of COPD.
"I travel the country collecting materials for my work and many of the people I see on a daily basis are affected by COPD or are at risk for the disease," says Kalish, who uses discarded everyday items such as car tires, boxing speed bags and recycled license plates to create his unique and highly sought-after works of art. "COPD affects people from all walks of life and this is my opportunity to give them a voice."
Kalish's work has been showcased in galleries and included in private collections around the world. DRIVE4COPD and Kalish will host unveiling events in each selected city, highlighting state-wide COPD statistics to help raise awareness of the condition and stress the importance of early detection. Special guests and elected officials will be in attendance to address the audience and share their strategies to enact changes in COPD-related health policy.
Additional information regarding the dates and locations of 24M will be posted on DRIVE4COPD.COM, along with exclusive behind-the-scenes video of Kalish creating the monument in his studio.
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.
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 provider. 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.
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.
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 142 affiliates in 50 countries and more than 41,500 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.
In 2009, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of US $17.7 billion (12.7 billion euro) while spending 21% of net sales in its largest business segment, Prescription Medicines, on research and development.
For more information, please visit http://us.boehringer-ingelheim.com.
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.
*The DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Ambassadors are paid spokespeople of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.