Yankees Baseball Legend Bernie Williams Raises Awareness of Devastating Lung Disease – IPF – in Honor of his Dad


RIDGEFIELD, Connecticut, June 14, 2017 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — New York Yankees all-time great Bernie Williams is teaming up with Boehringer Ingelheim to raise awareness of a lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) that his father suffered from for years before he passed away in 2001. Back in Puerto Rico, Williams’ father Bernabé inspired him to play baseball and make it to the Major Leagues. He also taught him to play guitar, which has become Williams’ second career since retiring from baseball.

In honor of his father’s battle with IPF, Williams has joined the Sin Aliento™ campaign to turn his family’s devastating experience with this rare lung disease into a chance to help other families. Williams hopes to educate and empower others who think they may have IPF to seek early diagnosis and treatment and is encouraging people to visit the campaign website www.SinAliento.com – and share the videos and educational Spanish content through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter using #SinAliento. In addition, they can sign up to the Sin Aliento™ program and receive monthly information in Spanish via e-mail or text messages.

“Whether I was in centerfield or at bat, my dad was always my biggest fan. He seemed invincible. So when he was finally diagnosed with IPF after battling symptoms like breathlessness and a debilitating cough that persisted for many months, it was devastating to me and my family,” said Williams. “Sharing my dad’s story is so important because it will help others get the answers they need sooner and easier.”

IPF is a rare and serious lung disease that causes permanent scarring of the lungs, and makes it difficult to breathe. Symptoms of IPF include breathlessness during activity, a dry and persistent cough, chest discomfort, fatigue and weakness. Although considered “rare,” IPF affects up to 132,000 Americans, and according to the The Lancet, Hispanics are more likely to suffer from the disease with a 15% higher incidence than the general population.* Also, about 50,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed every year with IPF – enough to fill a baseball stadium.

“Boehringer Ingelheim is proud to partner with baseball legend Bernie Williams who can speak personally about how IPF affected his dad and his family,” said Al Masucci, vice president, IPF Business Unit, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “Through the Sin Aliento™ campaign, we hope to educate people to recognize the signs of the disease and take action to see a doctor as early as possible. It is important that a correct medical diagnosis is determined as IPF is often misdiagnosed.”

The symptoms of IPF are similar to, and often confused with, other more recognizable diseases such chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, or congestive heart failure. There are IPF treatments available, including supplemental oxygen, cough management and pulmonary rehabilitation, which can include special exercises or breathing strategies. In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first drugs specifically indicated for the treatment of IPF.

About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation.

Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, the company operates globally with approximately 50,000 employees. Since its founding in 1885, the company has remained family-owned and today creates value through innovation for three business areas including human pharmaceuticals, animal health and biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing.

Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to improving lives and providing valuable services and support to patients and their families. Our employees create and engage in programs that strengthen our communities. Please visit our website to learn more about how we make more health for more people through our Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

In 2016, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of about $17.6 billion (15.9 billion euros). R&D expenditure corresponds to 19.6 percent of its net sales.

For more information, please visit www.boehringer-ingelheim.us, or follow us on Twitter @BoehringerUS.

*  Raghu, Ganesh; Chen, Shih-Yin; Yeh, Wei-Shi; Maroni, Brad; Li, Qian; Lee, Yuan-Chi; Collard, Harold R. Idiopahic Pulmonary fibrosis in us medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years and older: incidence, prevalence, and survival, 2001-11. The Lancet 2014: 566-572

SOURCE Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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