Documentary ‘Beyond Breathless’ Highlights Interstitial Lung Disease

Marisa Wexler MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler MS |

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A new documentary, “Beyond Breathless,” will showcase the journey of those affected by interstitial lung disease (ILD) through the real experiences of people living with rare lung diseases, their loved ones, and healthcare professionals.

The documentary, by pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, will premier at noon EST Saturday (Dec. 5) on A&E.

ILD can have more than 200 causes, all leading to fibrosis (scarring) of lung tissue. Scleroderma-associated ILD and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) are two of the most common forms of ILD.

The film will feature award-winning actress, musician, and TV producer Queen Latifah, as well as New York Yankees baseball legend Bernie Williams, both of whom lost a parent to ILD.

“My mom struggled with scleroderma especially after it progressed to her lungs and that made it difficult for her to breathe,” Queen Latifah said in a press release. “Anything my mom could do to help someone else have an easier journey with their disease, she wanted to be a part of – so it’s important for me to carry on my mom’s mission. My hope is that for those living with this disease or caring for someone they love that they know they’re not alone in this fight,” she said.

Bernie Williams, the documentary’s narrator, said “When my dad was diagnosed with IPF — a type of ILD — we had never heard of it before. I wish we had the information and resources that are now available to families facing this devastating diagnosis which is why it means so much to me to be a part of this documentary, and I know it would mean a lot to my dad.”

Common symptoms of ILDs include breathing difficulty, coughing, and fatigue. As these symptoms also are common in other respiratory disorders — such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — IPF and related conditions are frequently misdiagnosed.

“Our hope is that through ‘Beyond Breathless’ we can educate people about interstitial lung disease and encourage those experiencing symptoms to get an earlier and accurate diagnosis,” said Al Masucci, vice president of the ILD Business Unit at Boehringer. “We are proud to have worked with so many inspiring individuals in the ILD community to bring this powerful documentary to life.”