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Inspiring Special Olympians Welcome in the New Year

Meet a few of the exceptional athletes participating in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games

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“Together We Thrive,” the title of Kaiser Permanente’s 2015 Rose Parade® float entry, celebrates the 7,000 international athletes who will take part in the Special Olympics World Games 2015 in Los Angeles for nine days beginning July 25.

Rafer Johnson, 1960 Olympic gold medalist and founder of the Special Olympics Southern California, will be riding on this year’s float. He will be joined by 2015 World Games Global Messengers, Dustin Plunkett and Debi Anderson. Kaiser Permanente members, including three Special Olympics Team USA athletes, are also featured: swimmer Abby Reznek of Maryland; and tennis player Julian Hall and swimmer Chris McElroy, both from Colorado.

Walking alongside the float this year will be a group of Kaiser Permanente physicians and health care providers who are active supporters of the Special Olympics and represent the more than 600 volunteer physicians and staff who will be providing care to the athletes at the seven venues of the 2015 World Games. Edward M. Ellison, MD, executive medical director for the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, and member of the Special Olympics LA2015 board of directors, will also walk with the group along the parade route. “Kaiser Permanente is honored to help bring the Special Olympics World Games to Los Angeles in 2015,” said Dr. Ellison. “Our float will raise awareness of the 2015 World Games and the Special Olympics mission to promote acceptance and inclusion for those with intellectual disabilities by demonstrating and celebrating the joy, courage and determination of these remarkable athletes. It is our privilege to provide them with high-quality medical care while they are here.”

Meet the inspiring Olympians who will be riding on the float:

Antonia “Toni” Gonzalez
Jenna Ramirez
Paul Preble
Charlene Jan
Victoria Allen
Abby Reznek
Stephanie Ching
Chris McElroy
Julian Hall
Myles Henderson

As a founding champion and official health partner, Kaiser Permanente is honored to dedicate our float to the Special Olympics - an organization that shares our commitment to diversity, inclusion and total health for individuals and communities.

Learn more about how you can volunteer or donate to the Special Olympics Summer World Games.