A leading provider of private healthcare in China has announced a partnership with former NBA star Stephon Marbury to fund a program providing medical rehabilitative care to children and young people.
"Young people are the future of the nation," said Beijing Ducks point guard Marbury, the reigning China Basketball Association Most Valuable Player. "Children with disabilities who receive rehabilitative care have a better chance for a higher quality of life".
"United Family Healthcare (UFH) looks forward to the impact Mr Marbury will make in promoting rehabilitation medicine in China. With more attention given to the development of rehabilitative treatment and care after surgery in children and young people, the field will continue to grow and improve," said United Family Healthcare Board chair Roberta Lipson, founder of the United Family Charitable Fund (UFCH) and co-founder of the Program for Youth Rehabilitation.
Marbury is one of the most beloved athletes in China and cares about public health and well being, making him a perfect partner for the program, Lipson said.
Rehabilitation in China is still in its early stages compared with some other countries such as the United States and needs more attention and development, Marbury said.
It is estimated the number of disabled people in China younger than 17 is more than 5 million, and a report by Xinhua News Agency in 2013 showed the number of children suffering cerebral palsy was 400,000.
Early diagnosis and treatment, and proper rehabilitative measures are crucial for easing and recovery from diseases among children, experts said.
The United Family-Marbury Program for Youth Rehabilitation will accept children and young people in need of help through applying to Marburycares@ unitedfoundation.org. Those who meet selection criteria will receive care through UFCH. At the same time, UFH will raise funds through donations and invest at least 2 million yuan ($320,000) in medical services through charitable projects each year.