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USA Basketball Players and Legends Visit Shanghai Children’s Medical Center During USA Basketball International Challenge

August 4, 2008

Smiles on children’s faces today eclipsed the star power of the USA Basketball Senior Men’s National players and legends who visited several young patients at Shanghai Children’s Medical Center while in town for the USA Basketball International Challenge.

The Shanghai Children’s Medical Center is China’s leading pediatric hospital and the product of a unique collaboration between U.S.-based Project HOPE, an international health education and humanitarian assistance organization and the Shanghai Municipal Government. SCMC recently provided advanced pediatric care to nearly 20 children injured in the Sichuan Province earthquake in May. In addition, SCMC dispatched a first-responder team of two surgeons, an anesthesiologist and four nurses to the quake zone to assist in relief efforts.

Taking time out of their preparations for the Beijing Olympic Games that begin later this week, members of the USA Basketball team, including Tayshaun Prince, Michael Redd and Deron Williams and Managing Director Jerry Colangelo, as well as USA Basketball legends Sam Perkins, Willis Reed and Dominique Wilkins met with a child earthquake survivor from the Sichuan Province, as well as other children battling cancer, heart conditions and other illnesses.

“These kids are the real heroes,” said USA Basketball player Michael Redd. “I’m proud that Americans have played a role, through the charitable organization Project HOPE, to give these kids the best possible care in the face of adversity whether it is the result of an earthquake or another childhood illness.”

Project HOPE developed the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the facility with the hospital staff and Shanghai government. In 2007, the hospital care for more than 880,000 outpatients, admitted more than 12,500 inpatients, and performed nearly 2,500 pediatric heart surgeries. Project HOPE also has helped establish SCMC as a national training center for health professionals learning the most advanced techniques in pediatric medicine.

“Just like American players and coaches have raised the level of basketball around the world, Project HOPE has increased the knowledge and skills of the doctors and nurses in China giving these kids the best care possible,” said USA Basketball legend Willis Reed.

The USA Basketball players and legends, as well as Jerry Colangelo, Managing Director for USA Basketball, listened to a nine-year-old boy from the Sichuan Province tell how he recalled his teacher urging him and his classmates to run out of the building when the ground started to shake. Unfortunately, the boy, his classmates and teachers were thrown to the ground by the power of the quake.

The next thing the boy remembered was being rescued from the rubble of his school. He was one of only five children to survive the building’s collapse. The boy was the first patient to arrive in Shanghai from the Sichuan Province and was treated at SCMC for a broken tibia and infections related to several wounds.

The players also met and congratulated one of SCMC’s first responders Dr. Zhou Hong, an anesthesiologist, who traveled to the Sichuan Province immediately following the earthquake. Coincidentally, Dr. Zhou had received emergency medical training through a Project HOPE program that prepared her for the health care challenges she encountered in the quake region.

“USA Basketball players and legends were truly ambassadors of goodwill today and heightened the spirits of the children they met,” said John P. Howe III, M.D., President and CEO of Project HOPE. “Similarly, Project HOPE is deeply honored to express the goodwill of the American people through our work at the hospital and through other humanitarian efforts that have improved the health of China’s people for more than 25 years.”

Project HOPE continues to be engaged in earthquake relief efforts in the Sichuan Province. A HOPE-led team of international trauma and rehabilitative medicine experts recently completed an assessment of the health care challenges in the region. In the next 60 days, the team will deliver it recommendations to the Chinese government on how to provide long-term care solutions to the more than 50,000 individuals that were disabled as a result of the quake.

Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is one of only five U.S.-based organizations registered to operate in China and has had a presence in China for more than 25 years. In addition, Project HOPE is celebrating in 2008 its 50th anniversary of providing health education and humanitarian assistance to the world.

Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now provides health education and humanitarian assistance in more than 35 countries across five continents. For more information, please visit www.projecthope.org.

USA Basketball

Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men’s and women’s basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the United States by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA sponsored international basketball competitions, as well as for some national competitions. www.usabasketball.com

For additional images and video, please contact Stephanie Blank at +1 646 805 2019 or sblank@rlmnet.com or Marisol Euceda at +1 301 347 3922 or meuceda@projecthope.org.




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