When Bernabé Williams died of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), his son –fabled New York Yankees all-time great Bernie Williams—could do little but watch.
That was back in 2001, but IPF remains a rare and serious lung diseases with no cure in sight.
Now, Williams – a five-time All Star who played 16 years with the Yankees – is turning to music to honor his father and at the same time raise awareness surrounding IPF. Williams, a classically trained acoustic and jazz guitarist who has released two albums and is known for his soulful melodies, has launched the “Breathless Ballad Challenge.”
It begins with a Williams-penned instrumental song, “Para Don Berna,” that Williams wrote for his father. The challenge asks others to help finish the song by submitting lyrics to his musical tribute. The Breathless Ballad Challenge is part of the “Breathless” national campaign launched by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which seeks to educate people who may have IPF and urge them to seek early diagnosis and treatment. Lyric submissions to the challenge will be accepted through September 15, strictly via the submission form found in www.BreathlessBallad.com.
There, writers can also listen to “Para Don Berna.” A panel of blue ribbon judges with determine the winner, who will get to record “Para Don Berna” with Williams. Winners will be announced in October.