Billy Ray Cyrus and Patty Loveless Join COPD Campaign
Musicians know that the best way to raise awareness is through song -- so Billy Ray Cyrus and Patty Loveless didn't hesitate when asked to join a new campaign that hopes to bring attention to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) through a songwriting contest.
"I learned at an early age from my grandfather, who was a pastor, both the impact COPD symptoms have on one's life and the power of a person's voice. I've taken those lessons with me throughout the years," Cyrus tells The Boot. "I know music motivates people to take action, and that's why I'm asking America to help us find the next great song to drive awareness of COPD."
The songwriting contest, Tune Up for COPD, asks amateur writers and musicians who haven't seen professional success in music to submit their best song that raises awareness for the disease in a positive way.
Loveless has also seen someone close to her suffer from COPD, which has only strengthened her desire to spread the word. "My sister, Dottie, suffered from COPD for quite a few years before we knew what it was," she says of her late sister. "Hers was a form of emphysema, and she was 48 when she passed away. I think if she had had some kind of awareness about this disease and what was taking place with her body, and known that there was help out there, it would have made a difference; she would have been with us a lot longer."
"If Dottie had been able to go to something like this website and get information, she would have been with us a lot longer," says Loveless, who wrote the theme song for the original campaign.
In addition to catching the attention of aspiring songwriters for the benefit of the contest, the campaign hopes that the involvement of famous faces like Cyrus and Loveless will drive visitors to the site for other reasons. There, people can take a quick five-question survey to see if they may be at risk for COPD themselves.
Loveless adds, "It's a wonderful thing that all these companies and people are partnering with the COPD Foundation to raise awareness about the disease. Country music is now involved, NASCAR is involved ... there are so many other partners, and it's wonderful that they are coming aboard to help get word out."
The songwriting contest winner -- judged by Cyrus and Loveless -- will have the honor of performing at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville in June. The contest is open until April 15.