2015 Humana Game Changers

Humana, presenting sponsor of the National Senior Games, is recognizing 13 athletes who each exemplify well-being through their spirit of determination, personal strength and unwavering dedication to their sport as Humana Game Changers.

These athletes are from all over the country and participate in various sports, including triathlon, track and field, tennis, basketball, race walk and pickleball. Humana Game Changers demonstrate how regular physical activity can positively impact overall health and serve as inspiration to live healthier lives.

The National Senior Games will be held in Bloomington/Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota on July 3-16, 2015.

Read on for more about the Humana Game Changers. Also, please visit www.nsga.com for information about the National Senior Games.

Edwina Dennis, 81

Chicago, IL

Whether she’s taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking far away from entrances, cutting her own grass or driving 45 minutes to play scrimmage basketball, Edwina Dennis refuses to stop moving. Living by the motto “if you don’t move it, you will lose it,” the great-grandmother of four and former case worker supervisor casually played in various sports in her younger years but only got into basketball at age 70. She will be competing this year with the Colorado Combos basketball team.


John Levy, 72

Maplewood, MN

After picking up the javelin for the first time in the spring of 2014 – after watching his grandson at a track meet – John Levy is proof that you can exercise and compete at any age. The retired painter and Mississippi native immediately began training and excelled during his first competition. Despite rotator cuff surgery in September 2014, Levy continues to train and looks forward to his first National Senior Games.


Pat Lillehei, 71

Minneapolis, MN

A longtime financial adviser who recently retired, triathlete Pat Lillehei was bit by the competition bug in 2008 after her daughter asked her to ride in a cycling fundraiser for multiple sclerosis. She competed in her first triathlon that same year and has participated in myriad triathlons throughout the country since then, even planning to compete in international events in the near future. Lillehei is excited to compete in triathlon and swimming at the 2015 National Senior Games in her hometown of Minneapolis.


John Bates, 70

Townsend, TN

Diagnosed with cardiomyopathy at age 62, John Bates underwent a total lifestyle change that included a vegan diet and competing in various athletic competitions. Following a 2007 collapse on a tennis court, he got very serious about his exercise program. A retired wellness center director, Bates will compete in tennis and triathlon at the 2015 National Senior Games.


Tom Burkhart, 70

Baton Rouge, LA

Tom Burkhart has been what he refers to as “quasi-athletic” most of his life, playing or coaching a number of sports, including tennis, softball, baseball and basketball. He discovered and became hooked on pickleball in 1980 when he discovered a pickleball set at the middle school where he taught, eventually helping to introduce the sport throughout the region. In addition to serving as pickleball director for the National Senior Games, Burkhart is also the mid-south regional director for the USA Pickleball Association.


Harry Carothers, 70

Pinellas Park, FL

Harry Carothers fell in love with basketball as a kid when his father, who played semi-professionally, set up a hoop in the backyard. He played consistently throughout his 28-year Air Force career and now dominates free throw, spot shooting and timed shooting contests in senior competitions across Florida and throughout the country. Carothers, who excels despite playing with an implanted pacemaker for 17 years, will compete in three-on-three basketball with his team, the Clearwater Aces.


Esperanza “Hope” Casias, 72

San Antonio, TX

After undergoing a complete knee replacement in 2012, Hope Casias viewed getting back in shape and preparing for the 2013 National Senior Games in Cleveland as a “dangling little carrot.” She not only worked hard through her therapy but ultimately won a gold medal. Casias will compete this year in volleyball, which she has played for 35 years.


David Fujii, 54

Boise, ID

A former Idaho state champion triple jumper in high school, David Fujii continued his interest in track and field by coaching but started to become out of shape due partially to the demands of his 30-year career as an electrical engineer and project manager in the high-tech industry. He got inspired to get back into track and field just a few years ago after accompanying his 83-year-old mother, whom he considers “quite a role model,” to her regional and national competitions. David will be competing in the triple jump, long jump, shot put and discus throw.


Patricia Fujii, 83

Meridian, ID

With a part-time job as a florist, involvement in the local chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, local YMCA and other organizations and a dedication to competing, Patricia Fujii likes to stay busy and refuses to slow down. Even after being diagnosed with breast cancer, she continued exercising and training, nabbing multiple gold medals at the Idaho Senior Games only a day after her last round of radiation treatment. Fujii, who inspired her son David to get involved in the National Senior Games, is competing in multiple sprint races, the long jump and the triple jump.


Donna Gonzales, 72

Terry, MS

Motivated by a desire to keep moving, Donna Gonzales has always been interested in activities – such as Middle Eastern dance and aerobics – that kept her moving. She even briefly had her own exercise segment – before, during and after her pregnancy with her youngest daughter – on local TV in Jackson, Miss. The grandmother of five will be competing in race walking, which she has been doing for nearly 20 years.


Oscar Peyton, 61

Accokeek, MD

Focused on his career as a computer specialist and programmer for the federal government for 31 years, Oscar Peyton did not tap into the speed he possessed until the age of 49. In his first ever organized track meet at the Maryland State Senior Olympics in 2002, he raced – and won – the 100-meter and 200-meter events. He has committed himself to training and getting faster ever since, racking up numerous gold medals. Peyton, with a personal best time just two seconds behind Usain Bolt’s, is competing in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes.


Lorraine Rizzuto, 79

River Ridge, LA

Lorraine Rizzuto played basketball in high school but she did not pick it up again until 1992 – about 40 years later – as a way to stay healthy. She not only plays but actively recruits women throughout the New Orleans region to play for the New Orleans Silver Slammers. Rizzuto will be competing in three-on-three basketball this summer with the Silver Slammers.


Hao-Ming Siu, 60

Louisville, KY

Hao-Ming Siu doesn’t let age and the possibility of injury slow him down; that is why he tries to keep moving and has regularly participated in marathons for the past 30 years. Siu believes that the National Senior Games give senior athletes an honorable goal to shoot for and is inspired by his older brother Max, who – despite a torn meniscus last year – is also preparing to compete in 2015. Siu will be competing in the 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter and 800-meter dashes.