Amsterdam, The Netherlands – On World COPD Day, Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is proud to announce the Breathe Boldly social initiative, which aims to raise awareness for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Patients with COPD often have trouble breathing, sometimes feeling as though they are breathing through a straw. Led by Philips with the support of the COPD Foundation and the daughter and son-in-law of the late Leonard Nimoy, who died of COPD in 2015, Breathe Boldly encourages people to post a photo or video on social media of themselves performing an activity while breathing through a straw with the hashtag #BreatheBoldly for #COPD to show empathy and support for those living with COPD.
Causing more than three million annual deaths, the disease is expected to be the third leading cause of death worldwide in the next fifteen years, more than breast cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer combined, as predicted by the World Health Organization .
Despite the prevalence of COPD, most people don’t know what it is or that they might have this life-threatening disease. Breathe Boldly asks that people perform an activity that they love while breathing through a straw in order to gain an empathetic understanding of how a COPD patient feels every day. Those interested in participating should:
- Take a selfie photo or video performing an activity of their choice while breathing through a straw;
- Post it to social media, explaining how it felt to breathe through a straw, using the hashtags #BreatheBoldly and #COPD; and
- Tag friends and challenge them to do the same.
“COPD affects so many people but still does not have much visibility or understanding,” said John Frank, General Manager Philips Sleep & Respiratory Care. “Many assume that only longtime smokers are at risk, but that’s not the case. We’re hopeful that Breathe Boldly will not only increase global awareness of the disease, but also help people better identify symptoms of COPD, and gain a better understanding of what it is like to live with this disease that impacts so many people worldwide.”
Earlier this year, Philips announced its sponsorship of the documentary Remembering Leonard – His Life, Legacy and Battle with COPD , working with the late Leonard Nimoy’s daughter Julie Nimoy and son-in-law David Knight, to raise awareness for the disease. As a leading provider of COPD management solutions, Philips is committed to improving the lives of COPD patients worldwide by offering solutions and products to help manage their daily activity and raising awareness of the disease.
“Last February, my father died of COPD, a disease he likely had for the majority of his life but was not diagnosed with until much later when it had greatly progressed,” said Julie Nimoy. “Our work with Philips, the COPD Foundation and the Breathe Boldly movement is further continuing dad’s last mission, which was to raise awareness for this incurable disease.”
To learn more about COPD or donate to the COPD Foundation, please visit Philips.com/WorldCOPDDay. To learn more about or join the Breathe Boldly movement, visit Facebook.com/PhilipsRespiratoryWellness. To learn more about Remembering Leonard – His Life, Legacy and Battle with COPD or view the trailer, visit copdllap.com.
 World Health Organization. 2008. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/respiratory/copd/burden/en/
 Remembering Leonard – His Life, Legacy and Battle with COPD. Dir. Julie Nimoy, David Knight. Health Point Productions, 2016. Film.