Yankees Legend Bernie Williams Raises Awareness of IPF to Honor His Dad
New York Yankees legend Bernie Williams is collaborating with Boehringer Ingelheim to raise awareness of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a disease that took the life of his father, Barnabé Williams, in 2001.
Williams will participate in the Sin Aliento campaign on Father’s Day, June 18, to encourage those who may have IPF to seek early diagnosis and treatment. As part of the campaign, Williams urges everyone to get involved by sharing videos and educational content available at the campaign’s website, either personally or through social media networks using the hashtag #SinAliento.
Williams’ father was the inspiration behind his stellar baseball career. Barnabé Williams also taught his son to play the guitar, which is now the baseball legend’s passion since retiring from the sport.
The former New York Yankees’ centerfielder joined the Sin Aliento campaign to turn his family’s experience into a chance to help others who might be struggling with similar challenges. Williams said he wants to help other families access education and information to cope with IPF and empower them to pursue appropriate treatment.
“Whether I was in centerfield or at bat, my dad was always my biggest fan. He seemed invincible. So when he was finally diagnosed with IPF after battling symptoms like breathlessness and a debilitating cough that persisted for many months, it was devastating to me and my family,” Williams said in a press release. “Sharing my dad’s story is so important because it will help others get the answers they need sooner and easier.”
IPF causes permanent scarring of the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe. Symptoms include breathlessness, dry and persistent cough, chest discomfort, fatigue, and weakness.
According to an article published in the journal The Lancet, titled, “Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in US Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years and older: incidence, prevalence, and survival, 2001–11,” Hispanics seem to be more likely to be affected by IPF, with a 15% higher incidence rate than the general population.
In response, the Sin Aliento campaign sends monthly emails or text messages with trusted information in Spanish.
“Boehringer Ingelheim is proud to partner with baseball legend Bernie Williams who can speak personally about how IPF affected his dad and his family,” said Al Masucci, vice president of IPF Business Unit at Boehringer Ingelheim. “Through the Sin Aliento campaign, we hope to educate people to recognize the signs of the disease and take action to see a doctor as early as possible. It is important that a correct medical diagnosis is determined as IPF is often misdiagnosed.”
On April 12, Bernie Williams wrote a guest column for Pulmonary Fibrosis News to share his story and inspire readers to support awareness and fundraising efforts to fight IPF.