Boehringer Ingelheim has announced a new partnership with Minor League Baseball® (MiLB™) to further raise awareness of the rare lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) through its Breathless™ campaign. Now the “Official IPF Awareness Partner of Minor League Baseball,” Boehringer Ingelheim will work with the league to educate its fan base about symptoms of IPF – and the importance of an early diagnosis and treatment – through in-stadium events as well as appearances by New York Yankees legend and musician Bernie Williams, whose father passed away from the disease in 2001.
The partnership will include 75 “Breathless Blowout” game days at 15 MiLB ballparks throughout the country this season. To raise awareness of breathlessness, the telltale symptom of IPF, fans will be provided gum and encouraged to blow bubble gum bubbles during the games. Educational information throughout the stadium will encourage those who may be suffering with IPF to seek early diagnosis and treatment.
“Teaming up with Boehringer Ingelheim and Minor League Baseball is a unique opportunity to reach a wider audience for a cause that is so close to my heart – raising IPF awareness,” said Bernie Williams. “This partnership will truly come to life with the help of MiLB and its fan base, and we are looking forward to making a difference for those affected by IPF.”
Williams will appear at several “Breathless Blowout” game days to share his story and message of hope with fans and participate in other in-stadium activities like throwing out the first pitch or performing “Take Me Out to The Ball Game” on guitar. During the July 11 Eastern League All-Star Game in Trenton, NJ, Williams will rally fans in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record™ for bubble gum bubbles blown at once.
Al Masucci, vice president, IPF Business Unit, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. added, “Through our partnership with Minor League Baseball, we aim to take disease recognition to new heights nationally and do our part in increasing the chances of an early and accurate IPF diagnosis for those who may be living with this complicated disease that is all-too-often confused with other more common respiratory illnesses.”
David Wright, chief marketing and commercial officer for Minor League Baseball, said, “With the help of baseball great Bernie Williams, we eagerly join and support this great cause and look to play an important role in raising awareness about this serious lung disease among Minor League Baseball fans.”