On November 6, 2019, the United Center hosted the 21st Annual Special Olympics Illinois MedFest. The 2019 MedFest brought over 1,700 aspiring and current Special Olympics athletes from across the city of Chicago to the United Center.
Athletes received free sports physicals from over 100 health professionals from Advocate Medical Group. Since its inception, an outstanding 29,000 exams have been given.
MedFest provides Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Park District, and Independent Agencies the opportunity to receive a complete – and completely free – sports physical from our medical partners at Advocate Medical Group.
Once a physical examination indicates the individual is healthy, the athlete is cleared to begin training, competition, and routine physical activity expected for participation in his or her sport.
Beyond the free sports physical, MedFest introduces athletes to a variety of health initiatives such as Opening Eyes and Healthy Habits Stations (Hydration & Physical Activity).
Opening Eyes provided by Lions International supplied over 170 athletes free eye exams and eyewear. The Hydration Station saw around 300 athletes. There, athletes learned about healthy drink choices.
The Physical Activity station was a massive hit for athletes. Athletes chose from a variety of exercises such as jumping jacks or pushup then competed to see how many of each activity they could complete in 30 seconds. Additionally, athletes learned other healthy tips such as limiting TV time and getting a good night’s rest.
MedFest and its’ 21 years of entirety could not be what it is today without dedicated volunteers. Over 200 people volunteered this year alone– stemming from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Ridgewood High School, St. Rita High School, United Airlines, United Center, and Walgreens, to name a few.
From donating the venue space to the event production, hospitality, medial, and security staff, the United Center sources a volunteer base from many different departments making them an integral part of the success of the event.
“Volunteering at Special Olympics Illinois’s MedFest is such a rewarding experience,” said Robert Reynolds – an employee at Walgreens headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois.
Robert has been involved with MedFest for a couple of years. He was so enthralled by the event and its’ impact he later proposed the idea of volunteering to his colleagues at Walgreens.
“The best part of MedFest is, without a doubt, the athletes– their smiles, joy, and high-fives.” Robert encouraged his colleagues, like Kaenye Prince, to join him.
“This year is my second year of volunteering at MedFest,” explained Kaenye.
“I volunteer to give back to the community, yet I leave MedFest with a renewed sense of joy and fulfillment, which comes from the athletes, and the daily obstacles they may face.”
MedFest would not be possible without the continuous support of The United Center, Advocate Medical Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Levy Restaurants, Jewel Osco, and Astellas, local high schools -St. Rita and Ridgewood. These partners have dedicated their time and staff to MedFest for 21 incredible years.