West Ham United players and staff have come together with actor Ray Winstone to show their support for the British Lung Foundation's (BLF) week-long campaign to raise awareness of the lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), for World IPF Week (28 September-5 October 2014).
The Hammers, associated with the song 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles', and devoted fan, Winstone, will join BLF supporters and campaigners around the world in tweeting and Facebooking pictures of themselves blowing bubbles (this year's World IPF Week theme), as a sign of support to all those people whose lives are affected by IPF.
People can also text 'IPF' to 70500 to donate £5 to help the BLF fight the growing impact of IPF on the UK's health.
IPF, which causes a progressive scarring of the lungs, has been on the rise in the UK for decades, and now kills around 5,000 people a year - on a par with conditions such as leukaemia.1,2 However, there is no known cause or cure. As a result, the disease acts with often-devastating speed: barely half of people diagnosed with IPF are still alive three years later, and just one in five will survive five years.3
World IPF Week is an opportunity to help raise awareness for this little-known disease and to campaign for more research and better treatment and support for the patients and their families.
Kevin Nolan, club captain at West Ham United, said: "I urge everyone to get behind World IPF Week as we are doing here at West Ham United and support the British Lung Foundation to help fight this devastating disease."
Actor and West Ham United fan, Ray Winstone added: "I'm proud that my club is getting behind the British Lung Foundation this World IPF Week. But this isn't about club rivalry. This week is about raising awareness of a disease that affects 15,000 people in the UK, but that most people have never heard of. It can affect anyone, has no cure, and can kill with devastating speed.
"It's time things change. I'll definitely be blowing bubbles and texting to donate in support of World IPF Week this year. I hope all Irons, football fans, and all right-minded people across the UK will do so too."
Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: "IPF is a cruel disease that is in urgent need of more attention from our government, to improve the level of care and services offered to patients.
"Having West Ham's and Ray's support this year will go far in helping us raise the profile of IPF, and helping this disease get more of the attention and investment that we desperately need."
For further information about IPF, please visit the BLF website.