Junior Orange Bowl Queen, Leia Schwartz, and Jamal Mashburn Raise Awareness On Influenza
(CORAL GABLES, DEC 2010)- The Junior Orange Bowl Committee (JOBC) supports its Royal Court Queen, Leia Schwartz, and her work with the Faces of Influenza campaign. On Monday, December 6, she joined her father, David Schwartz, and former Miami Heat star, Jamal Mashburn, at Roby George Park in Homestead to raise awareness on 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 is now 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 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.”
ESPN analyst and former NBA player, Jamal Mashburn was also in attendance to support the children. Jamal 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, Jamal 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 www.facesofinfluenza.org.
Leia was crowned Junior Orange Bowl Queen on November 7, 2010 at the Royal Court Final along with Princesses Valerie Katz and Sloane Rice. The three will reign over all the Junior Orange Bowl Festival events, especially the 62nd Junior Orange Bowl Parade. During the Festival, the Royal Court will participate in various award ceremonies and serve as goodwill ambassadors to all the youths participating in the Festival’s events. The Royal Court’s duties culminate at the annual Junior Orange Bowl Parade, where the winners will ride on a float through the streets of Downtown Coral Gables on Sunday, January 2, 2011.
The Junior Orange Bowl Festival is possible with the support of the City of Coral Gables, Miami Children’s Hospital, The Orange Bowl Committee, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor, and Board of County Commissioners. The JOBC, Inc. is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that serves the community of South Florida and the Youth of the world by providing opportunities for wholesome, competitive and multi-cultural experiences. For more information, please call 305.662.1210 or visit our website at www.jrorangebowl.org.