Vote Now for Breathless Ballad Challenge

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by Aisha I Abdullah PhD |

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Breathless Ballad Challenge vote

Former New York Yankee and Grammy-nominated musician Bernie Williams will join musician, actress, and producer Queen Latifah, music duo The Bacon Brothers, singer-composer Paul Shaffer, and others to serve as a judge in the Breathless Ballad Challenge, a lyric competition that aims to raise awareness about idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

Hosted by pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, the Breathless Ballad Challenge invites amateur songwriters to submit original song lyrics inspired by a loved one.

The winning lyrics will accompany the instrumental song, “Para Don Berna” written by Williams in honor of his late father. Bernabé Williams Figueroa, Sr. died from IPF in 2001, spurring Williams to become an advocate for IPF awareness.

“I’m truly touched by the number of outstanding entries we’ve received and very honored to be joined by such talented judges to help select the winner of the Breathless Ballad Challenge. This effort is personally important to me, and I am grateful to be able to honor my dad and everyone affected by IPF through music,” Williams said in a press release.

Now through Wednesday, the public has the opportunity to view and vote on the submitted lyrics. After the votes are tallied, judges will review the finalists to select the winning lyrics. In the case of a tie,  the winner will be chosen by Williams and Emmy-award winning music producer Eren Cannata.

Those wishing to vote for the winning lyrics may do so by visiting the official social media sites of Williams (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) or Boehringer Ingelheim (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

In addition to the artists mentioned, the panel of judges will include Scott Staszak, musician and chief operating officer of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation; Arthur Hanlon, a Billboard and Emmy-nominated pianist, composer, and arranger; Hiram Williams, cellist and brother to Bernie; Willie Randolph, six-time World Series champion; and Sweeny Murti, a sports reporter for WFAN and Sports Net NY.

“We’re thrilled to be working with such a talented panel of judges as part of the Breathless Ballad Challenge and we want the public to get involved to vote for their favorite lyrics,” said Al Masucci, vice president of the ILD Business Unit at Boehringer. 

The Breathless Ballad Challenge launched last summer with the goal of raising awareness about IPF and empowering those who have, or think they might have, the disease.

“With misdiagnosis rates still as high as 50%, we still need to raise awareness about idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis to help patients receive an early and accurate diagnosis,” Masucci added.

Williams has been a spokesperson for Boehringer since 2017, participating in the “Breathless Blowout” campaign in partnership with Minor League Baseball, and the A&E documentary “Beyond Breathless.”

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