MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mr. Bernie Williams
Four-time World Series champion and star centerfielder for the New York Yankees discusses his beloved dad Bernabé’s struggle with a rare lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)
MedicalResearch.com: Would you briefly explain what idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is? How does it affect a person’s health and ability to breathe?
Mr. Williams: IPF is a rare and serious lung disease that causes permanent scarring of the lungs, and makes it difficult to breathe. Symptoms of IPF include breathlessness during activity, a dry and persistent cough, chest discomfort, fatigue and weakness. Although considered “rare,” IPF affects up to 132,000 Americans, and about 50,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed every year with IPF – enough to fill a baseball stadium.
MedicalResearch.com: How did you and your family manage your father’s illness?
Mr. Williams: Whether I was in centerfield or at bat, my dad was always my biggest fan. As a kid growing up in Puerto Rico, my dad would hit me endless fly balls and played catch with me. As is the case for so many sons and daughters of strong dads, my dad always seemed invincible to me. So, when he started to experience breathlessness and disruptive coughing fits, it worried me and my entire family.
Like far too many men in general, my dad was reluctant to see a doctor. It took a lot of convincing – and even once he agreed to go, he had trouble getting the answers he needed, and his symptoms continued. Finally, after years of misdiagnoses, my dad finally saw a doctor who was able to perform the proper tests to accurately diagnose his idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis – or IPF. Unfortunately, by that time, he was expected to have just a few more years to live – a frustrating and a sad reality for me and my entire family.
Watching my dad struggle with IPF was not easy. His symptoms continued, and his breathlessness progressed to the point where he could barely participate in our regular telephone calls without becoming short of breath. Then sadly, in May 2001, my dad passed away at the age of 73. It’s still hard for me to believe it’s been that long.
MedicalResearch.com: Are there any new treatments available?
Mr. Williams: There are promising new options and treatments for IPF, so I am encouraging anyone with IPF to go to www.BreathlessIPF.com and speak with their doctor.
MedicalResearch.com: What else would you like readers to know?
Mr. Williams: If you think you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of IPF – breathlessness during activity, a dry and persistent cough and chest discomfort – it’s important that you see a doctor, who can then refer you to a specialist, right away. Don’t give up until you have the right information and answers you need.
We’re looking for help from everyone! Even if you don’t have IPF – or think you don’t know anyone who does, you can still help. Please visit our campaign website www.BreathlessIPF.com and share our videos and educational content through your social media. You may just provide someone in need with the information to take action. Together, we can make a real difference.
Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.