New drive4copd Ambassador Program Unites Celebrities and Fans in Nationwide Screening Contest

Danica Patrick, Michael Strahan, Bruce Jenner and Patty Loveless Shift COPD Screening Effort into High Gear for the 'Great American Screen Off'

RIDGEFIELD, Conn., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- National health initiative DRIVE4COPD today announced the launch of its new Ambassador Program, which gives fans the opportunity to join their favorite celebrity in a common cause: raising awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  The Ambassador Program marks the beginning of the Great American Screen Off, a nationwide push this fall to screen Americans for their risk of COPD at DRIVE4COPD.COM.  Fans can now enter the DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Race Team's* ongoing competition to see who can screen the most people.

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Launched in February 2010, DRIVE4COPD aims to raise awareness of COPD and encourage people to take a brief, five-question screener at DRIVE4COPD.COM to see if they might be at risk and talk to their doctor about their results.  COPD is a chronic disease that makes it harder and harder to breathe.  To date more than 200,000 people have been screened through the campaign.

"The DRIVE4COPD campaign has been to community events across the country and we keep hearing that people want to help us get word out about COPD.  The Ambassador Program makes it easy for people to join us," said Pro Football great, Michael Strahan, whose uncle struggled with COPD.  "This disease kills more people than breast cancer and diabetes combined, so don't wait - join my team.  The more people who get involved, the more lives we'll touch."

Strahan is joined by fellow DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Race Team Members – Go Daddy and NASCAR Nationwide Series™ Driver Danica Patrick, Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner and Grammy Award-winning country music star Patty Loveless.  Each Race Team member has lost a loved one to COPD and has seen first-hand the impact of this disease.  Together, they are working toward a collective goal of getting 1 million people screened and are calling on their fans to join this cause.

Joining a Race Team

The web-based DRIVE4COPD Ambassador Program provides people with the tools they need to spread the word about COPD to their friends and loved ones who may be at risk.  Ambassadors can sign up to support their favorite participating DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Race Team Member at DRIVE4COPD.COM where they can access e-mails and messages to help encourage friends and family who are 35 and older to get screened to see if they may be at risk and take action.  

The DRIVE4COPD Ambassadors will join the team of their favorite celebrity and pledge the screeners they complete to be added to that team's tally.  Ambassadors can enter for a chance to win a two-day/one-night trip to a DRIVE4COPD screening event on November 4, 2010 and meet a Celebrity Race Team Member at the event.**

About the Great American Screen Off (September 13November 4)

The Great American Screen Off, a program of the DRIVE4COPD campaign, is a national push to put the breaks on COPD.  Through a series of events and activities, campaign spokespeople and partners are calling on the nation to take action and be screened for their risk of COPD and talk to their healthcare provider about the results.  The Great American Screen Off will culminate on November 4, in honor of COPD Awareness Month, with a series of free screening events across the country hosted by the DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Race Team Members.

  • Bruce Jenner: Los Angeles, CA
  • Patty Loveless: Atlanta, GA
  • Danica Patrick: Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
  • Michael Strahan: New York, NY


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, COPD Foundation and NASCAR®. 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:

  • Various "Pit Stop" COPD screening events at NASCAR® 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 on DRIVE4COPD 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 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.

**No Purchase Necessary. Program starts 9/13/10 & ends 10/21/10. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States (including DC) who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. Participants will receive one (1) entry for every 5 people who complete the screener on their behalf up to 75 total entries. Anyone can also enter by sending their contact information via U.S. mail up to 75 times. This Program is void in Puerto Rico & where prohibited. For official rules & complete details, visit DRIVE4COPD.COM/official-rules.aspx.

NASCAR® is a registered trademark of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc.

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

DRIVE4COPD is a trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

SOURCE Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.