Special Olympics Illinois, Advocate Health Care provide free sports physicals to 400+ athletes at MedFest

Special Olympics Illinois, in partnership with Advocate Health Care, successfully hosted the annual MedFest at the United Center on Wednesday, Dec. 6. This event offered free sports physicals to athletes to ensure they meet the requirements for participation in Special Olympics Illinois programs.

MedFest welcomed athletes from various organizations including Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District locations, residential and workshop facilities, and private agencies to receive the required sports physicals necessary to participate in life-changing Special Olympics Illinois programming, at no cost.

During MedFest, Advocate Health Care's team of dedicated medical professionals conducted comprehensive sports physical examinations on 425 athletes to ensure each athlete's health and fitness level for participation in a variety of sports activities. These exams serve as a prerequisite for athletes to engage in Special Olympics Illinois competitions and year-round programming.

Pete Beale-DelVecchio, president & CEO of Special Olympics Illinois, expressed the significance of MedFest by stating, "At Special Olympics Illinois, we believe every individual, regardless of ability, deserves the opportunity to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendships with their community. We are grateful for our partnership with Advocate Health Care and their commitment to building a healthier, more active, and more inclusive society. Through the no-cost health care services provided at this MedFest event, hundreds of athletes will be able to access the life-changing programming of Special Olympics Illinois."

Dr. Rick Bone, senior medical director of Population Health at Advocate Health Care, highlighted their commitment to health care equality, saying "As part of our commitment to advancing health equity, Advocate Health Care is proud to partner once again with Special Olympics Illinois to provide free sports physicals for hundreds of Chicago-area athletes. Through the annual MedFest event, which we have supported for more than 20 years, we are able to create a safe, enjoyable environment for these athletes to access health care services and help them live fully through their participation in Special Olympics Illinois."

Special Olympics Illinois expresses recognition and gratitude to elected officials who attended MedFest, including Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, who met with athletes, volunteers, and clinicians.

Secretary Giannoulias expressed his support, stating, "I'm thrilled to be here at Special Olympics Illinois MedFest, where over 400 individuals with intellectual disabilities can get free health care screenings. This helps provide a more equitable health care system. It provides an opportunity for so many of our most vulnerable to see a doctor or a nurse. So, thank you to everyone for making today possible. Thank you to the United Center, to Levy Restaurant Group, to Advocate Health Care and their clinicians - and especially to my great friends at Special Olympics Illinois for bringing everyone together on this incredibly special and inspirational day."

Also in attendance, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Director Michael Cabonargi, Illinois state Senators Robert Martwick and Natalie Toro, Illinois State Representatives Yolanda Morris and Abdelnassar Rashid, and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Dan Pogorzelski. Their presence and support emphasize the significance of inclusivity and accessible health care for all individuals, regardless of ability.

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