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 made 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, 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 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 Herculean effort to protect global health and save lives.”
“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.