LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--For the fourth year in a row, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), will take part in the Rose Parade with a float this year that honors Ebola First Responders: the doctors, nurses, medical assistants, orderlies and all health care and support workers—both living and deceased, anonymous or high profile—who work, or were working, tirelessly to contain Ebola.
Following the Ebola deaths of two physicians working with AIDS Healthcare Foundation in West Africa, AHF decided to dedicate its entry in the 126th Rose Parade® to honor the inspiring—often heartrending—stories of these Ebola First Responders working tirelessly to save lives worldwide. According to the New York Times, as of November 5th, 546 health care workers in West Africa have been infected with Ebola, and 310 have died.
AHF’s Rose Parade float—which will feature a 17-foot tall rotating heart created out of over 25,000 red roses as well as an eight-foot-wide seeded floral globe symbolizing the global scope of the Ebola fight—will also have oversized floral portraits of AHF’s Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, who died of Ebola in Sierra Leone on July 29th, and Dr. John Taban Dada, a Ugandan national working in Monrovia, Liberia who succumbed to the disease on October 9th in Liberia.
And in a poignant commemoration, four surviving siblings of Dr. Khan, who was the leading Ebola and Lassa Fever specialist in Sierra Leone, will ride on the float in tribute to, and in memory of their fallen brother. These siblings include brother Sahid Khan, of Philadelphia; brother Alhajie Khan; as well as sisters Umu Khan and Isatu “Assie” Khan Sei, all of the greater Washington, DC/Maryland area.
Following Dr. Khan’s death in July, Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma declared him a national hero and praised him for saving the lives of more than 100 Ebola patients. A new viral hemorrhagic center in Kenema, where Dr. Khan worked, will be named in his honor.
“AHF’s 2015 Rose Parade float honoring Ebola First Responders in Africa and elsewhere in the world truly embodies the Tournament of Roses’ official 2015 parade theme: ‘Inspiring Stories,’” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “With this float, we honor those individuals and care providers who have been working on the front lines in the global fight to contain Ebola—and to particularly honor those like Dr. Khan, Dr. Taban Dada and the more than 300 other care providers who have given their lives in this courageous effort to protect global health and save lives.”
“We are humbled by the generosity of AHF since the passing of Sierra Leone's hero and world renowned clinical virologist Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan as he worked to stem the EVD epidemic in accordance with fulfilling his Hippocratic oath to ‘apply…measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice,’” said Sahid Khan, an older brother and one of nine siblings of Dr. Khan. “Having said that, we feel honored to be riding on the AHF float to honor all the healthcare workers, particularly those who have lost their lives while administering to those afflicted by this disease. We hope this gesture by AHF will bring some cheer to the lives of their families as they mourn, and may the souls of those who have died rest in perfect peace and continue to inspire us in the ongoing fight against this catastrophic disease.”
In 2014, the Rose Parade attracted approximately 700,000 attendees, aired live nationally on seven networks to nearly 55 million viewers, and was televised in 115 countries for an additional 25 million international viewers.
“AHF’s ‘Protecting Global Health-Ebola First Responders’ float also serves as a solemn reminder to the millions of parade viewers that Ebola is not over—the fight in West Africa goes on and we must be vigilant in supporting the fight,” added Weinstein.
AHF’s Rose Parade History
Each of AHF’s three previous Rose Parade entries was honored by the Tournament:
- 2014—AHF’s ‘Love is the Best Protection’ float earned the Isabella Coleman Trophy for “…best presentation of color and color harmony through floral use.” This float also included a Rose Parade first: the same-sex wedding of a gay male couple from Los Angeles, Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair, which was performed live during the parade on AHF’s float, embodying the Tournament’s 2014 ‘Dreams Come True’ official parade theme.
- 2013—AHF’s ‘The Global Face of AIDS’ float was a global salute to AIDS Healthcare Foundation patients and medical staff from around the world. It was honored with the Tournament of Roses’ ‘Queens Trophy’ for “…best use of roses.”
- 2012—AHF’s ‘Our Champion’ float was a tribute to Elizabeth Taylor in the year that she died in thanks for her tireless advocacy and work in the fight against AIDS. AHF’s inaugural entry in the historic New Year’s Day parade in 2012 honoring Taylor also won the ‘Queen’s Trophy’ and was also the first float in the Tournament’s history that focused on the topic of HIV/AIDS.
Fiesta Floats of Irwindale is envisioning and constructing AHF’s 2015 ‘Protecting Global Health—Ebola First Responders’ parade entry, as it did for AHF’s previous three entries.
“The family of Dr. Khan is also taking this opportunity to make people aware of the Doctor Sheik Humarr Khan Foundation, Inc. (DSHKF), to help families of healthcare workers lost during this EVD epidemic, support pupils/students interested in healthcare disciplines and the development of vaccines for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (VHFs),” added Sahid Khan.
Requests for information and/or donations can be sent to:
The Doctor Sheikh Humarr Khan Foundation, Inc.
16021 Elegant Court, Bowie, MD. 20716
Phones: (215) 768 1892 (Sahid Khan); (301) 213-7421 (Alhajie Khan)
About AIDS Healthcare Foundation AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 372,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.