UCLA legend and NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is teaming up with UCLA Health for a wide variety of new health and wellness initiatives designed to improve health and prevent disease.
The partnership will be announced at the 2019 Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Los Angeles Light the Night Walk, an event for which UCLA Health is the presenting sponsor.
The Los Angeles Laker superstar and UCLA Bruin basketball player is a survivor of chronic myeloid leukemia, or CML, which is a form of blood cancer. To honor his survivorship, Abdul-Jabbar has served as an ambassador and UCLA Health fundraising team captain at the annual event, which raises research funds to find cures for blood cancers.
While he will continue as team captain at this year’s event — to be held on Nov. 9, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Centerpiece Park at Century Plaza Tower in Century City — Abdul-Jabbar said he is looking forward to expanding his affiliation with UCLA Heath.
“UCLA has been an important part of my life for many decades,’” Abdul-Jabbar said. “The UCLA community has supported me throughout my college basketball career, my long professional life with the L.A. Lakers, and in the past several years, as my health care team. Their commitment to me both as a player and a patient has had an immeasurable impact on my life. This new partnership will provide many opportunities to promote health and wellness — and allow me give back to the community.”
The partnership will include several initiatives, including a UCLA Colon Cancer Awareness Month promotion in March, a variety of community health events and patient education communications to promote healthy living. There will also be a focus on cardiovascular health, as Abdul-Jabbar was diagnosed with atherosclerosis and had quadruple coronary bypass surgery in 2015.
“We are honored that Kareem is expanding his affiliation with UCLA Health,” said Johnese Spisso, president of UCLA Health and CEO of the UCLA Hospital System. “He’s a world-class leader joining forces with a world-class medical institution. Together, we will make a real difference in promoting health, preventing disease, and in inspiring healthier lifestyles.”
As a presenting sponsor of this year’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Light the Night event, dozens of UCLA Health teams will walk alongside Abdul-Jabbar. Proceeds raised by UCLA teams and other participants will fund cancer research and support services for patients and their families.
UCLA Health comprises four hospitals on two campuses — Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital on the university’s main campus in the Westwood area of Los Angeles, and UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica — and more than 180 medical practices throughout Southern California. It also includes the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Submitted by Simi Singer