First Annual DRIVE4COPD 'Great American Screen Off' Seeks to Find Millions of Americans at Risk for COPD

Unprecedented Collaboration of Celebrities, Sports, Healthcare and Consumer Organizations Unite to Put the Brakes on COPD

RIDGEFIELD, Conn., Nov. 4, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Events across the country today mark the first annual DRIVE4COPD Great American Screen Off to raise awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and screen people for their risk of the disease. The Screen Off is believed to be the largest single day in our nation's history dedicated to screening for and raising awareness of America's fourth leading cause of death.

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The Screen Off is driven by four high-profile celebrities impacted by COPD and a powerful group of sports, healthcare and consumer organizations, all united to put the brakes on COPD, a progressive disease that kills more people each year than breast cancer and diabetes combined.  

"From coast to coast, we've seen a groundswell of support and commitment for this cause," said Go Daddy and NASCAR Nationwide Series™ Driver Danica Patrick, who lost her grandmother to COPD.  "I'll be in Dallas/Fort Worth for the Screen Off encouraging people to know what COPD is and to be screened.  I'm calling on people aged 35 and older to go to DRIVE4COPD.COM to answer five brief questions to see if they are at risk and talk to their doctor."  

COPD develops slowly and worsens over time. Breathing gradually becomes more difficult for people with COPD until they feel like they are inhaling and exhaling through a small straw.  In the U.S., many patients are not diagnosed until they have lost half their lung function.

"Approximately 24 million Americans may have COPD but half of them don't know it," said Brian Carlin, MD, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Drexel University School of Medicine. "This screener is a great first step so people can find out if they might be at risk. Then, they can work with their healthcare providers to get the help they need to breathe better now and in the future."

The DRIVE4COPD Movement

Since launching in February, the DRIVE4COPD campaign has already screened nearly 500,000 people.  And now, to help support the growing national movement, hundreds of thousands more COPD screeners have already been sent to collaborating organizations at thousands of locations.  

Partnering organizations, retailers and managed care companies across the country are each finding their own unique way to support the DRIVE4COPD movement through efforts like state action plans, e-mails to memberships, and employee screening programs.  For example, Sprint® is encouraging screenings at their annual employee health and wellness event, local Posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) are asking their members to attend Screen Off events, and the New York COPD Coalition is announcing their state action plan, all on and around November 4.  

Local market activities and in-store screenings are slated at some of the nation's best known pharmacy chains including New York City-based Duane Reade stores, Ralphs Grocery Company Pharmacies in Southern California and thousands of Pharmacy First independent pharmacies. And, in addition to their ongoing efforts, the DRIVE4COPD partnering organizations, including the American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC), local chapters of the American Lung Association (ALA) and COPD Foundation are further mobilizing their members to drive screenings.

Four Celebrities Take on Four Cities

In a rally of support for the Screen Off, Patrick is competing against fellow DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Race Team Members* – Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner, Grammy Award-winning country music star Patty Loveless and Pro Football great Michael Strahan – to see who can screen the most people today. Each celebrity has lost a loved one to COPD and has seen first-hand the impact of the disease. They'll be holding events in four cities to raise awareness about COPD and encourage people to find out if they are at risk.    

Team Bruce (Los Angeles)

Bruce will be representing his hometown of Los Angeles for the Screen Off and making an appearance at Nokia Plaza at L.A. LIVE. He joins DRIVE4COPD in honor of his wife's grandparents, who both suffered from COPD.

Nokia Plaza at L.A. LIVE

800 W. Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

12:00pm8:00pm: Free COPD risk screenings and giveaways

5:30pm: Welcome remarks from Bruce and Denise Rees, Registered Respiratory Therapist, Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center

Autograph signing to follow

Team Danica (Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex)

Before she races at the Texas Motor Speedway over the weekend, Danica will be making an appearance in the Fort Worth Stockyards. She will speak about the experience of watching her grandmother struggle with COPD.

Fort Worth Stockyards (Livestock Exchange Building)

131 East Exchange Avenue, Fort Worth, TX

11:00am7:00pm: Free COPD risk screenings and giveaways

1:00pm: Welcome remarks by Danica, Tom Kallstrom, Registered Respiratory Therapist and COO of the American Association of Respiratory Care, and Chief Knowles, Executive Chief Deputy of the Tarrant County Sherriff's Department and volunteer from the American Lung Association, Plains-Gulf Region

Autograph signing to follow

Team Michael (New York City)

Michael will be rallying on his old football stomping grounds, making an appearance in the heart of New York City's Times Square. He raises awareness of COPD in honor of his uncle, who struggled with COPD.

Times Square

Father Duffy Square: 7th Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets (near TKTS Ticket Booth)

9:00am7:30pm: Free COPD risk screenings and giveaways

12:00pm: Welcome remarks by Michael, Byron Thomashow, clinical professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, and Andy Goodman, Deputy Commissioner for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

Autograph signing to follow

Team Patty (Atlanta)

Patty will be lending her voice to the Screen Off, giving her hometown Atlanta fans a free concert. She's making an appearance to honor her sister, who died of COPD at the young age of 48. In addition to her fans' longtime favorites, Patty will sing the DRIVE4COPD campaign song, titled "Drive," which she wrote to encourage people to take action and get back to living life.

Discover Mills

5900 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville, GA

12:00pm8:30pm: Free COPD risk screenings and giveaways

6:00pm: Welcome remarks by Patty, Peggy Brown, executive director of the COPD Foundation, and June Deen, state director, ALA in Georgia

Live concert and autograph signing to follow


DRIVE4COPD is a multi-year public health initiative that aims to 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 led by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. along with a powerful coalition of organizations including the American Association of Respiratory Care, American Lung Association and COPD Foundation. DRIVE4COPD is the Official Health Initiative of NASCAR®.

This initiative aims to help millions of people affected by COPD by focusing national attention on this common and debilitating disease. The campaign includes:

  • "Pit Stop" COPD screening events at NASCAR® sanctioned races, country music festivals and state fairs across the country
  • A year-long "Race for the Missing Millions" competition among the DRIVE4COPD Race Team members to see who can encourage the most people to take the screener
  • An original campaign song, "Drive," composed by country music star Patty Loveless
  • Public service announcements
  • Iconic pinwheel symbol
  • DRIVE4COPD 300, the first NASCAR Nationwide Series™ race of the season
  • An Ambassador Program uniting campaign spokespeople with their fans in a common cause
  • Great American Screen Off national push including a series of events and activities involving DRIVE4COPD celebrity spokespeople and partnering organizations

About COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – also known as chronic bronchitis and emphysema – 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 bring COPD to the forefront including:

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 or visit our consumer website

American Lung Association

Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit

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


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.

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.

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*The members of the DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Race Team are paid spokespeople of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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.

©2010 The Coca-Cola Company, all rights reserved.

©2010 Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. All rights reserved.

DRIVE4COPD is a trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

SOURCE Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.