The COPD Foundation is delighted to dedicate this issue to a momentous announcement: The hugely successful DRIVE4COPD national public awareness campaign has been transferred to the COPD Foundation. DRIVE4COPD, whose founding sponsor is Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BI), is the nations largest awareness campaign for COPD.
Just how successful has this campaign been?
In less than two years, DRIVE4COPD has screened over 2.5 million Americans for COPD, and in February of this year, we had a record audience at the DRIVE4COPD 300 in Daytona, FL. It was the most viewed NASCAR Nationwide Series event in cable history, with an average of 3.3 million households and 4.4 million viewers tuned in during the race.
We truly believe this is the Tipping Point for COPD awareness. Never before has there been such momentum from a public awareness campaign for COPD, and never before has there been a clear opportunity to unite so many resources to focus attention on COPD, identifying and assisting those at risk and rallying the community to become personally involved.
Were inviting ALL stakeholders, members of government, corporate America, pharmaceutical companies, bio-tech industries and private citizens to join us and support DRIVE4COPD.
DRIVE4COPD has worked diligently with many partners, including NASCAR®, the Country Music Association, the American Association for Respiratory Care, and several celebrity spokespersons with a personal connection to COPD. By working with the sports, entertainment, healthcare and business communities, we have all proven that the time is right for a national awareness campaign to identify those 12 million Americans that are symptomatic but not yet diagnosed with COPD.
NASCAR, Americas Favorite Sport, is a major component of the campaign. Millions of NASCAR fans are at risk for COPD; this is an audience we must reach through awareness. As the Official Health Initiative of NASCAR, our ability to engage with so many of the largest employers in the country through NASCAR sponsors and affiliated companies will expand our reach to corporate America. Our ability to engage with individuals at risk and those diagnosed will make a meaningful impact on their lives.
COPD remains the third leading cause of death in the U.S., and it is the only chronic disease thats on the rise. We need to intensify our efforts to increase the government support for research that leads to more effective therapies and increase the efforts to promote prevention and awareness of COPD.
The COPD Foundation was the Founding Partner involved in DRIVE4COPD since its launch in 2010. We congratulate BI for their pioneering vision in establishing the first ever, non-branded, public awareness campaign for COPD, and for making the strategic decision to transfer management, ownership and responsibility for the campaign to the COPD Foundation and open it up to all the stakeholders in the COPD community. On pages 16 and 17 in this issue, you can read more about the campaign and how you can get involved.
All the best,
John W. Walsh