DOWNEY - A Downey anesthesiologist and his dance group will be performing alongside Kaiser Permanente's Rose Parade float in Tuesday's Tournament of Roses Parade.Jason Cheng, D.O., is founder of the Downey Dance Rx, a class for Cheng and his colleagues who wanted to dance and get fit. "When I started dancing a couple years ago, I lost a lot of weight and got in pretty good shape," said the dancing doctor. Cheng choreographs the dances, most based on Latin dance moves. "Latin dance gives a great workout, especially to the core abdominal muscles," Cheng said. "That's an area where we really like to see people trim down." Soon after forming in 2010, Dance Rx performed at a wellness fair, then at a holiday party. They now plan to perform line dances every week at Kaiser Permanente's farmers' market and invite local residents to join in. Plans are also afoot to start Dance Rx troupes at all KP Downey affiliated medical office buildings. Kaiser Permanente's float, titled "Oh, the Healthy Things You Can Do," encourages residents to stay healthy by dancing, biking, jumping rope, reading or simply pausing to take a deep breath now and then. Riding on the float are eight people who have made being healthy their personal objective. For example, Marge Avants, 88, Donna Evans, 80, and Jackie Wells, 77, are three members of the Silver Stars, a senior tap dancing crew that "truly embodies" healthy aging. There's also Darin Miller, a Kaiser Permanente registered nurse that went from huffing and puffing up a flight of stairs to participating in triathlons. And there is also Madison Friend, a 14-year-old La Mirada resident who has turned her lymphoma diagnosis into the cause behind a foundation. Also riding on the float are Tre Duplechan, a 16-year-old who has overcome illness after illness with the sole goal of getting back to sports; Janavien Gago, a 13-year-old girl who has overcome severe aplastic anemia and has her mind set on becoming a pediatrician; and Jesse Campos, a 17-year-old who found empowerment in his weight-loss success.
********** Published: December 27, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 37