The following segment aired on “The Balancing Act” on Lifetime Television. Joining the show was Danica Patrick to discuss Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
The Balancing Act: Well, our next guest on “The Balancing Act” took the world of racing by storm when she was just ten years old. She hit that gas pedal and has not stopped yet. She’s been named the most successful woman in the history of American open wheel racing and has more than one hundred races under her belt. She has also captured the world of modeling and has appeared in many television commercials as an advertising spokesperson and today she is taking a stand against Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, better known as COPD. Please join me in welcoming Danica Patrick to “The Balancing Act” this morning. Good morning to you, Danica.
Patrick: Good morning.
The Balancing Act: Well, ten years old that’s amazing. My son is ten; I would never let him get behind the wheel. What was it that motivated you to get into the racing world?
Patrick: You know, my dad used to race when he was younger. Umm, and my sister was the one who actually wanted to race go-carts. We used to go watch midget racing at a local track every weekend and I think that my sister just, I don’t know, she had the bug and she wanted to do it and I just didn’t want to get left out. That’s common with sisters, right, or brothers?
The Balancing Act: No, absolutely. It’s funny you say that ’cause we took our son go-cart racing recently, he did actually pretty well. I was pretty impressed with him, but, speaking of being impressed, you have done some amazing things in your career and right now, you’ve taken on the role as a model and a spokesperson. But, in addition to that, your newest role is with COPD. Tell our viewers of “The Balancing Act,” what’s the personal connection there, Danica?
Patrick: Ahh, well, my grandma had COPD and she passed away and so, for me, this is a way that I could take a negative and turn it into a positive and honor her and try and get the awareness out about the disease and what it is. It affects twenty-four million people and only half know it, so, yeah, it’s the fourth leading cause of death in this country. It kills more people than breast cancer and diabetes combined, so, those statistics kind of grab people’s attention and makes them go, “what’s COPD?” So, it’s more known as emphysema or chronic bronchitis, but it’s very serious and, you know, my grandma died from it and I didn’t really even know very much about the disease until I was really educated on it to help educate others.
The Balancing Act: Well, now you’ve teamed up with “Drive for COPD.” What is this organization doing then to help make people aware?
Patrick: We do all kinds of really interesting things. The campaign kicked off last year at Daytona in February with the “Drive for COPD 300,” which I raced in in Daytona. There was a bunch of ambassadors last year to kick it off and they traveled across the country raising awareness and they were in RV’s driving across the country. So, it was a big bang at the very beginning. We do lots of awareness with interviews and education through that we’re working with Billy Ray Cyrus and Patti Love and the country music world. So, they’ve done country music competitions, song writing competitions. We’ve recently joined with Michael Kalish, an artist, and he works with license plates a lot, so he created this monument called “twenty-four m.” Its pin, a pinwheel, is the symbol for COPD ’cause you have to breathe into it to get it to turn. So, he made twenty-four pinwheels with twenty-four hundred license plates and it’s in the shape of the United States. So, it’s pretty dramatic and, you know, we just do all kinds of things. There’s going to be—there’s screener trucks—COPD screener trucks at a lot of NASCAR races and other outdoor events. The list is kind of long, so we’re doing everything we can.
The Balancing Act: You know, it’s interesting, you say that the list is kind of long and you’re absolutely right. It’s long for you and so many of the things that you’ve done and I wanted to ask you, because, to me when I look at you as this race car driver but this beautiful woman, it’s kind of like, how do you reconcile the two, how do you balance it all?
Patrick: I guess the balance is the fun part for me, for me, I enjoy being female, being feminine, getting my hair and makeup done and doing photo shoots and, you know, trying to look pretty, so, you know I like doing that. But then I have another side to me which is the aggressive, rough and tough, kind of, race car driver girl, where I don’t wear any makeup and I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing it or having nail polish on at the race track, although it’s kind of light this weekend, maybe I need to take it off, anyway…
The Balancing Act: Not even any lipstick in the race car, Danica, just a little bit of lip gloss.
Patrick: No, no, like chapstick, You know, I enjoy both of those sides to me and I think that without one it would be hard to just have the other, so it’s the balance that makes me feel complete and allows me to be able to enjoy both of them.
The Balancing Act: Well, where can viewers of “The Balancing Act” go for more information on this COPD drive that you’re doing—which I think is so amazing—where can we go to find out more?
Patrick: Driver4copd.com. We take the five question screener, it helps you get educated on the disease and some of the signs and symptoms and we’ve screened over two million people now in two years. It’s been under two years, so it’s been a very effective campaign and, more than anything, it’s about taking care of yourself.
The Balancing Act: Thank you so much, Danica, for coming on “The Balancing Act” and really shedding light on COPD for a lot of our audience members who may not know about it. So thank you so much, and best of luck to you.
Patrick: Thank you.
The Balancing Act: And, as Danica said, if you’d like more information on COPD, be sure to visit the website. It’s drive4, that’s the number 4, copd.com.
The Balancing Act is the only morning show in America produced by women specifically for women. Every morning, The Balancing Act on Lifetime hosts Danielle Knox and Kristy Villa tackle the issues that face today’s woman. Popular show segments include live weather updates with Mark Mancuso, surprise celebrity visitors, and news about the latest trends affecting your life, home, career and family. The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television airs daily on Lifetime at 7 a.m. ET/PT. For more information, visit The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television’s website at www.thebalancingact.com.