Orlando, Florida, Jan. 30, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — By Josh Cohen, OrlandoMagic.com
ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic have signed a new member to the team.
Her name is Priann Franco, a 15-year-old who like many of her new Magic teammates works hard in the weight room, eats nutritious food, and cares deeply about living a healthy lifestyle.
Because of that connection, it didn’t take long for Franco, a success story from AdventHealth for Children’s Healthy Weight and Wellness program, to bond with her new teammates.
She even got to shoot hoops on the Magic’s practice court, now called the AdventHealth Practice Facility, with Jonathan Isaac, her tour guide during her orientation.
“Definitely a dream come true,” Franco said.
The journey to becoming an honorary member of the Magic, however, was not easy for the South Lake High School student, who under the direction of Dr. Angel Fals overcame various health obstacles.
Prior to joining AdventHealth’s program, which has worked with nearly 2,500 kids over the past eight years with recent analysis showing that 75 percent of the participants have increased or maintained their physical activity, Franco was overweight and at risk of developing diabetes.
Over the last year, though, the 10th grader has adopted a passion for lifting weights and playing sports such as basketball and tennis. Her life has changed so much that now she’s ready to help influence other children who are looking for inspiration.
“The process has been hard, that’s for sure, but the journey needs to be hard in order for it to be good,” she said. “I hope that people can take from my story and make it part of their story too to help them realize the things I did they can do as well.”
Dr. Fals, a pediatrician who specializes in weight management for children and adolescents, is extremely proud of Franco and is confident her strides will spark a domino effect.
“As a child or a teen really starts embracing that, then it goes to the other kids too,” Fals said. “They get inspired, they get motivated and they keep helping each other. So, that’s exactly what she’s going to be doing now is continuing to help other kids to be able to walk that same journey.”
The signing of Franco occurred synchronously with the Magic unveiling the AdventHealth Practice Facility, which is part of an expanded partnership between the two organizations who together believe they can tackle the assortment of health problems that are affecting so many people throughout Central Florida.
“It’s really exciting on a couple different levels,” said Magic CEO Alex Martins, who was joined during the presentation by Daryl Tol, president and CEO of AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division, and Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman. “Number one, it certainly helps advance the medicine and the performance that we are able to provide to our players. Their research and the doctor care that they have and the professionals that they have working at AdventHealth can really help us and improve our players’ approach to not getting injured but also improve things like nutrition, their ability to sleep in the right manner and the right amount of time. So, it’s really going to help us advance keeping our players healthy, keeping them on the court and extending their careers.”
Earlier this month, AdventHealth Foundation was one of 16 Central Florida organizations to receive funding from the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF) as part of their annual efforts to assist community programs designed to augment children’s lives.
With the Magic’s assistance, AdventHealth has been able to enhance its fitness program and give kids like Franco more resources to improve their health.
“The Orlando Magic are a community asset,” Tol said. “They are a lot of fun to watch but they give back to their community and they focus on thriving communities. And that’s part of what they do with AdventHealth, they partner with us to help the community thrive.”
About AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division
Founded in 1908 by pioneering Seventh-day Adventists who believed in whole-person health — healing the body, mind and spirit — AdventHealth has grown into one of the largest nonprofit hospitals in the country, caring for more than two million patient visits per year in metro Orlando alone. AdventHealth operates nearly 50 hospitals and hundreds of care centers in nearly a dozen states, making it one of the largest faith-based health-care systems in the United States. AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division encompasses 16 hospitals in the six counties in and surrounding metro Orlando: Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Volusia and Flagler. The Central Florida Division’s care network also includes more than 30 CentraCare urgent-care centers; dozens of sports-rehab and imaging centers; and hundreds of physicians, ranging from primary care to a full spectrum of specialties. AdventHealth Orlando, the division’s flagship campus, serves both as a community hospital and as a major tertiary referral hospital for the region, much of the Southeast, the Caribbean and Latin America. AdventHealth Orlando is a designated statutory teaching hospital and trains physicians from around the world on the newest technology and procedures. The system provides a wide range of health services, including many nationally and internationally recognized programs in cardiology, cancer, women’s medicine, neuroscience, diabetes, orthopedics, pediatrics, transplant and advanced surgical programs. The AdventHealth Research Institute has more than 250 investigators and more than 500 clinical trials in progress. AdventHealth Orlando is also home to the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism & Diabetes and the Nicholson Center for Surgical Advancement.
About the Orlando Magic
Orlando’s NBA franchise since 1989, the Magic’s mission is to be world champions on and off the court, delivering legendary moments every step of the way. Under the DeVos family’s ownership, the Magic have seen great success in a relatively short history, winning five division championships (1995, 1996, 2008, 2009, 2010) with seven 50-plus win seasons and capturing the Eastern Conference title in 1995 and 2009. Off the court, on an annual basis, the Orlando Magic gives more than $2 million to the local community by way of sponsorships of events, donated tickets, autographed merchandise and grants. Orlando Magic community relations programs impact an estimated 100,000 kids each year, while a Magic staff-wide initiative provides more than 7,000 volunteer hours annually. In addition, the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF) which serves at-risk youth, has distributed more than $24 million to local nonprofit community organizations over the last 29 years. The Magic’s other entities include the team’s NBA G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, which began play in the 2017-18 season in nearby Lakeland, Fla.; the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL, which serves as the affiliate to the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning; and Magic Gaming competed in the inaugural season of the NBA 2K League in 2018. Ticket highlights for the 2018-19 Magic’s 30th anniversary season in the award-winning Amway Center, honored with TheStadiumBusiness Awards’ 2013 Customer Experience Award and named SportsBusiness Journal’s 2012 Sports Facility of the Year, include: 2,500 seats priced $20 or less, 8,000 seats priced $40 or less and 9,000 seats priced $50 or under. For ticket information log on to www.orlandomagic.com or call 407-89-MAGIC.
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