The Junior Orange Bowl Committee (JOBC) supports its Royal Court Queen Leia Schwartz and her work with the Faces of Influenza campaign.
On Monday, Dec. 6, Queen Leia joined her father, David Schwartz, and former Miami Heat star Jamal Mashburn at Roby George Park in Homestead to raise awareness about the seriousness of influenza and give vaccinations to underprivileged children. The Faces of Influenza is a grassroots campaign started by the American Lung Association, which aims to educate the public and take preventative measures to stop the spread of the flu virus.
Queen Leia, as she is known in Junior Orange Bowl circles, has been a poster child for the American Lung Association for nine years and now is in her second year as a representative of their Faces of Influenza campaign.
“The flu is such a prevalent and widespread epidemic that it is very important young children receive their influenza vaccination in order to stay healthy,” said Leia, who has lived with severe life threatening asthma her whole life.
David Schwartz is on the advisory board of the American Lung Association and like Leia, he too is an asthmatic. David and Leia were approached in June 2009 by the American Lung Association to be regional “Faces” for their national campaign.
David hopes to “spread the word and let people know how serious the influenza disease is.”
He stressed that “by getting your vaccination, you are not only protecting yourself, but also the people around you because influenza is a disease that is spread so easily to others.”
Jamal Mashburn, an ESPN analyst and former NBA player, also was in attendance to support the children. Mashburn is in his first year with the Faces of Influenza campaign and having two kids of his own, he understands the importance of young children receiving their influenza vaccinations.
Since joining the campaign, Mashburn has learned a lot “not only from an educational standpoint, but also from an emotional standpoint on how serious of an illness the flu can be.” He encourages everyone to do some research and get more involved because “influenza not only affects you and your loved ones, but your community as a whole.”
David and Leia have taken a proactive approach in the fight against influenza, a disease that kills over 36,000 people annually. Aside from being spokespeople for the campaign, they also had a huge role in organizing the event at Roby George Park. Also helping out was the Early Development of Global Education (EDGE) Foundation, Cooney/Waters Group, and Walgreens Pharmacy, which supplied the nurses and donated 200 vaccinations.
For more information on the Faces of Influenza campaign visit online at www.facesofinfluenza.org.
For more information on the Junior Orange Bowl, call 305-662-1210 or visit the website at www.jrorangebowl.org.