BOSTON and PORTLAND, Maine, March 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Boston Celtics and Sun Life Financial U.S. have closed out the second annual Fit to Win program, which aims to improve the health and well-being of children as well as promote diabetes education. This year two simultaneous programs took place at YMCAs of Southern Maine and Greater Boston. During the program, the 177 participants tracked their fitness activities and healthy habits, racking up thousands of push-ups, squats, servings of fruits and vegetables, and other activities. They also got encouragement from a few Celtics players, with visits from Kelly Olynyk, Jordan Mickey, Jae Crowder, and Evan Turner.
Starting with Draft Day events in January, Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk and Celtics legend Dana Barros, along with Celtics dancers and mascot Lucky the Leprechaun, helped the YMCA kids get excited about their participation in the four-week-long program. At their Championship Events, the kids received Celtics-themed prizes, made fruit sculptures, and ran relay races with the Celtics players. In addition, one star performer from each region was named MVP and rewarded with the opportunity to be the Sun Life Ball Kid at an upcoming Celtics home game.
"Fit to Win has been successful again this year, and we hope that these kids will continue to engage in the work they've started during the program," said Dan Fishbein, MD, President of Sun Life Financial U.S. "Sun Life has various programs that promote diabetes prevention, education, and care, but Fit to Win is unique because it focuses on kids. We want to inspire children to make fitness and nutrition a part of everyday life so they can have bright, healthy futures."
"The Fit to Win program brings an incredible opportunity to our young members at the Y, providing them with the chance to meet real NBA heroes and igniting their excitement for health and wellness through mentorship," said James O'Shanna Morton, CEO and President of the YMCA of Greater Boston. "We are grateful to Sun Life and the Celtics for dedicating their time and resources to enhance the lives of our youth."
Sun Life and the Celtics continuously partner on diabetes and health-focused initiatives. Sun Life Fit to Win is a major component of their joint efforts and Sun Life's ongoing commitment to inform Americans about the risk factors and health consequences associated with diabetes. Launched in 2015, Sun Life Fit to Win focuses on children and their need for early education about diabetes prevention, healthy living, and fitness. The program is an extension of the fund-raising campaign #SunLifeDunkForDiabetes, which raises money for the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program throughout the month of November, National Diabetes Awareness Month.
"I was happy to be a part of the Fit to Win program this year," said Celtics forward/center Kelly Olynyk. "The kids stayed committed for a month and showed what hard work and dedication can accomplish. It felt good to reward the kids and see the smiles on their faces."
The Fit to Win program was originally conducted in Boston. Sun Life expanded the program to Southern Maine this year to lead up to the one-year anniversary of the Sun Life Center for Healthy Work in Greater Portland, which focuses on helping disabled employees return to work and wellness.
For more information about the Celtics partnership with Sun Life Financial and its community involvement, go to www.celtics.com/SunLifeFitToWin and www.sunlife.com/usdiabetes. Stay tuned next season for November's #SunLifeDunkForDiabetes and for Fit to Win 2017.
About the Boston Celtics
A charter member of the Basketball Association of America (which evolved into the National Basketball Association) since 1946, the Boston Celtics have won a record 17 NBA Championships, including eight (8) in a row from 1959–1966, winning their first title in 1957 and their most recent in 2008. The Celtics have long stood for equality, and respect, including hiring the first African American Coach and starting the first all-black starting five. In addition, 35 former Celtics players, management or staff have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In December 2002 the team returned to local ownership for the first time since 1963. For more information on the Celtics, log on to www.celtics.com.
About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF. For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com.
In the United States, Sun Life Financial is one of the largest group benefits providers serving more than 60,000 employers in small, medium, and large workplaces across the country. Sun Life's broad portfolio of products and services in the U.S. includes Disability and Absence Management, Life, Dental and Vision, Voluntary and Worksite, and Stop-Loss insurance. This includes the acquisition of Assurant Employee Benefits in Q1 2016. For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com/us.
SOURCE Sun Life Financial U.S.