Monmouth Medical Center and all Barnabas Health facilities across the state simultaneously celebrated the one-month countdown to the start of the upcoming 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, taking place June 14 through June 21, with the kick-off of the Barnabas Health Half-Marathon Walking Challenge for employees.
“The mission of Barnabas Health includes promotion of healthier lifestyles within our communities. Our partnership with the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games enables our system to touch tens of thousands of lives,” said Frank J. Vozos, M.D., FACS, President and Chief Executive Officer, Monmouth Medical Center. “More than 1,200 employees and physicians of Barnabas Health have committed to volunteering at the Games. Barnabas Health will have a visible and meaningful presence and we will all be honored to have a role in ensuring the success of this magnificent endeavor.”
Dr. Vozos was joined by Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-6), Special Olympics staff member Joanne Hunt and Special Olympian Zach Stroik, a soccer player, to cut the ribbon, marking the official start of the Half-Marathon Walking Challenge, a Live Well initiative that promotes healthy, active lifestyles among employees.
“Training for the Special Olympics keeps me healthy and strong — the Barnabas Health Half-Marathon Walking Challenge sounds like a great opportunity for everyone to get a little bit healthier. Without the generous support of sponsors like Barnabas Health, a lot of what we do just wouldn't be possible,” said Stroik.
During the system-wide Half-Marathon Walking Challenge, Barnabas Health employees are challenged to walk a half marathon around their respective campuses between May 14 and June 14. The one-mile course around the Monmouth Medical Center campus begins in Lot B on 3rd Avenue and wraps around to Morris Avenue, 2nd Avenue and Lowden Court before returning to 3rd Avenue.
The upcoming 2014 USA Games will take place in New Jersey June 14-21. During the week of events, more than 3,500 athletes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will compete in Mercer County in front of an anticipated 70,000 spectators. In anticipation of the Games, Barnabas Health facilities have held events on the 14th of every month beginning with the Flag Raising event on January 14 where the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games flag was raised at 11 facilities throughout the system and it will continue to fly through the upcoming Games.
“I know Monmouth Medical Center's and Barnabas Health's commitment to prevention and wellness — and I know that it is as important as their commitment to caring for someone who comes to the Emergency Department or for a hospital stay,” said Congressman Pallone. “I recently saw this commitment demonstrated through your sponsorship of a forum to help the community understand the Affordable Care Act, and your sponsorship of the Special Olympics is obviously a continuation of that commitment.”
Barnabas Health is also a Contributing Sponsor for Special Olympics' first-ever Healthy Young Athletes program. This program is designed to assist families of future Special Olympics athletes, ages 2 to 7, and help them meet the challenges they face in identifying their child's medical needs through free educational programs, medical screenings and family consultations.
“Special Olympics provides families with a support network and the chance to cheer with pride. For the athletes, Special Olympics makes a remarkable difference in their lives. It provides the opportunity to compete, express themselves, make friends, to be successful and to excel,” said Dr. Vozos. “Barnabas Health is proud and privileged to be the only healthcare Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games and will serve as the Presenting Sponsor of the Games' Family Programs, welcoming the thousands of family members from throughout the United States.”
Cutting the ribbon marking the official start of the Half-Marathon Walking Challenge, a Monmouth Medical Center initiative in conjunction with the 30-day countdown to the start of the Special Olympics that promotes healthy, active lifestyles among employees are
Frank J. Vozos, M.D., FACS, Monmouth’s President and Chief Executive Officer, and Special Olympian Zach Stroik. Pictured to Dr. Vozos’s right is special guest Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6).
About the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games
The Special Olympics USA Games will be hosted by New Jersey June 14-21, 2014. Nearly 3,500 athletes will compete in 16 Olympic-style team and individual sports, with the support of 1,000 coaches, 10,000 volunteers and 70,000 family, friends and spectators. The Special Olympics USA Games will celebrate the Special Olympics movement, promote the ideals of acceptance and inclusion through sport and showcase athletes from throughout the U.S. and the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. Founding partners for the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games include 21st Century Fox, Barnabas Health, HESS, KPMG, PSE&G, ShopRite, Toys“R”Us and WWE. Learn more about the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games at www.2014specialolympics.org and follow the Games on Facebook at Facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsUSAGames and Twitter @2014USAGames.
About Barnabas Health
Barnabas Health is the largest not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system in New Jersey and one of the largest in the nation, with more than two million patient visits and delivery of more than 17,600 babies annually. The system includes six acute care hospitals, two children’s hospitals, a freestanding behavioral health center, ambulatory care centers, geriatric centers, the state’s largest behavioral health network, comprehensive home care and hospice programs, pharmacy services, a medical group and three accountable care organizations. As the second-largest private employer in New Jersey, Barnabas Health includes 18,200 employees and 4,600 physicians – or one-fifth of the actively practicing physicians in New Jersey. Barnabas Health is a proud founding partner of the 2014 Special Olympics, which will take place in New Jersey June 14 to 21. For more information, visit www.BarnabasHealth.org.