Cal State Northridge freshman Jesse Campos says he startled himself, when at the age of nine, he weighed in at 220 pounds. Unable to bend over and tie his shoes or run around like the other kids at recess, both he and his mom knew his weight was impacting his health and quality of life.
But things have changed. With medical assistance he's 46 pounds lighter, and today the 17-year-old Computer Information and Technology major will be among those riding on Kaiser Permanente's Rose Parade float.
With the theme “Oh, the Healthy Things You Can Do,” the medical group says that there is no single prescription to staying healthy. Whether you run or walk, dance or bike, hula-hoop or jump rope, read or simply take a minute to take a deep breath, there are just so many things you can do to make your mind, body and spirit healthy.
Joining Campos on the float this year are seven other individuals who have made being healthy their personal objective. For example, Marge Avants, 88 years-old, Donna Evans, 80 years-old and Jackie Wells, 77 years-old, are three members of the Silver Stars, a senior tap dancing crew. There’s also Darin Miller, a Kaiser Permanente Registered Nurse who went from huffing and puffing up a flight of stairs to participating in triathlons. And then there’s Madison Friend, a 14 year-old La Mirada resident who has turned her Lymphoma diagnosis into the cause behind a foundation.
Also riding on the float are Tre Duplechan, a 16 year-old who has overcome illness after illness with the sole goal of getting back to sports and Janavien (Jana) Gago, a 13 year-old girl who has overcome severe aplastic anemia and has her mind set on becoming a pediatrician.
Dancing and walking alongside Kaiser Permanente’s 8th Rose Parade entry, are physicians and staff who also meet every week to dance their way to good health.
Measuring 55 feet long, 18 feet wide and 26 feet tall, both The Cat in the Hat and the sculptured mushrooms “fold” down to 16 feet to enable the float to cross under low wires and the freeway bridge along the parade route. More than 25,000 roses, in addition to dendrobium orchid florets, lavender sinuata statice, yellow strawflowers, carnations, multi-toned gerberas, and Kermit button mums, were used to create this vibrant garden scene.
-- Kaiser Permanente information was incorporated into this report.