9th Annual WEGO Health Awards | How it Works

The WEGO Health Awards were created to embody the mission of WEGO Health: to empower patient leaders.

Considering the WEGO Health Patient Leader Network is centered around these healthcare transformers, we knew it was up to us to celebrate their accomplishments. From this need to celebrate the leaders who make a difference, the WEGO Health Awards were born.
Since its inception in 2011, the WEGO Health Awards have proven to be one of the best ways to honor, recognize, and celebrate the work of patient advocates, influencers and healthcare collaborators who are helping others and transforming healthcare – often without any formal recognition.
With 16 different award categories, it is the only program to recognize patient leaders across all condition areas and platforms; whether running an online support group, speaking at conferences or sharing their health journey on Instagram, there is truly an award category to recognize every patient leader out there.
The program is split into four different phases:
1. Nominations | June – July
2. Endorsements | July
3. Judging | August – September
4. Celebration | October
Last year, we received over 6k nominations and over 130k endorsements. From there, our judging panels narrowed 6k nominations to 75 finalists and later to just 15 winners. In partnership with HLTH, we had our biggest WEGO Health Awards celebration ever! HLTH sponsored our 15 winners, covering admission and travel expenses, to attend the HLTH event and be honored on healthcare’s biggest stage for their advocacy achievements.
Learn more about how the WEGO Health Awards work:

NOMINATIONS
Open June 9th-July 31st
Think of nominations as a way to recognize your favorite patient leaders for the work they are doing. With 16 award categories, it’s easy to show your appreciation for all the patient advocates in your life. To start nominating, simply visit click here.
🏆 Tip for Nominees: Share out your WEGO Health profile and ask your community to recognize you for the WEGO Health Awards. Don’t be afraid to post to social, reach out to foundations, and include in any email correspondence. Your work deserves to be recognized! Once you’re nominated, you’ll receive a Nominee Media Kit for easy sharing.
Who should be nominated? Who can win a WEGO Health Award?
Anyone who is an active and leading member of an online community, and making a difference in healthcare, is eligible to be nominated. He or she should provide the community with valuable information and support to make a difference for other patients and caregivers. Nominees for an individual social channel award must have a presence on that particular social channel, of course.
Think about the advocates and influencers you see leading Facebook groups, blogging about their health journey, speaking up and giving insights to healthcare companies, presenting on national stages, and running Twitter chats. Patient Leaders have started non-profits, published podcast episodes, and authored books–there is no shortage of Patient Leaders’ contributions to the world, so let’s recognize as many of them as we can for their talents, contributions, and commitment.
How did you come up with the categories? Can I only use those to nominate someone?
The WEGO Health Awards were created based on Patient Leader feedback and the same is true of the categories we use. They might change a bit each year, but they’re created with you and your community in mind. We’ll only be selecting winners for the categories listed in our nomination form, but we’re always open to suggestions.
How do I nominate someone?
Go to our WEGO Health Awards nominations page to get started. Tell us who you want to recognize, where you follow them online, and the WEGO Health Award you think they should win. Once you’re finished nominating your favorite patient leader, feel free to share that nomination with your community or send a tweet with the hashtag #WEGOHealthAwards. And be sure to nominate early and often; we want to recognize as many patient leaders as possible.
Can I nominate myself?
Of course. We hope you’ll reach out to your community and ask them to nominate their favorite members of the online health world – and that includes you! However, you’re more than welcome to nominate yourself as part of the process. Be sure to take a moment and recognize any of the great leaders that help you on a daily basis as well.
How will I know if I am nominated?
Each nominee will be notified via email and social media (as applicable) and will be given the chance to complete/update a WEGO Health profile with additional information about themselves and their advocacy. Please note, notifications can take 24-72 hours from the time of the nomination submission

ENDORSEMENTS
Open July 1st – Jul 31st
This period provides a community-choice aspect of the program. Endorsements are a way to give nominees a visual show of support for a specific nomination, think of it like “liking” a post or photo on social media. For instance, if a nominee is nominated for Best in Show: Twitter, and you believe they deserve this recognition, your endorsement is the perfect way to show your support.
The three nominees with the most endorsements in each of the 16 categories will automatically become finalists.
🏆 Tip for Nominees: Grab Your Endorsement Badge | Once endorsements open (in July!), navigate to the ‘Awards’ tab, of your WEGO Health profile. Here you will be able to download images and badges to put on your sites to gain endorsements. We invite you to keep your badge up once endorsements are closed to proudly display your accomplishment.
What happens when I endorse a nominee? Is it the same as voting?
Endorsements were created to give network members a chance to participate in the WEGO Health Awards. Think of it as a way to give a shout-out or virtual hug to your favorite Patient Leaders.
In response to feedback from the community, the endorsement process helps select top patient leaders to move on to the finalist round. The three most endorsed nominees in each WEGO Health Award category will automatically become a finalist. There are six finalists within each category and the final award winner is selected by our panel of distinguished judges.
So, if you are nominated for an award, make sure you ask your friends, family, and community members to take a moment to endorse your efforts.
Can I endorse more than one person?
While you can only endorse a nominee once per award category they are nominated for, you can endorse as many people as you like. If you want to spread the love and endorse others, feel free to do so.
Do likes/tweets count as endorsements?
While showing your support through Facebook likes or tweets is appreciated by the nominees, we will not be counting that form of social media support towards endorsements.
Can I still become a finalist if I do not get a high number of endorsements?
Yes. While the three nominees with the highest endorsement numbers in each category will automatically become finalists, the additional three finalists will be determined by our judging panelists through numerous additional factors aside from endorsements.

JUDGING
August – September
We host multiple rounds of judging, after all, we receive thousands of nominations! Judges will be using the information provided in the nominee’s WEGO Health profile to review and score.
Determining Finalists
In the past, there were a total of five finalists, however, given community feedback, we will now be celebrating six finalists in each award category. To ensure the integrity of the program, half of the finalists will be determined through endorsement count and half will be selected through our judging process. Finalists are selected in two ways:
1. The top three endorsed nominees within a WEGO Health Award category automatically move on as finalists.
2. The subsequent three finalists in each category are selected by our network judging panelists. Finalists will be selected based on their relevance to that particular award and the information provided in a nominee’s profile. The finalist judging panels are comprised of past award winners, foundations, and organizations.
Once the top six finalists in each WEGO Health Award category have been selected, we’ll announce the finalists on our blog and then move into the final round of judging.
Selecting the Winners
Top industry experts and sponsors convene to review the six finalists in each category based on their use of social media, their fit for the award for which they’ve been nominated, and how effectively they engage their online community. Judges score individually, and then WEGO Health tallies these scores to identify the winners. No one knows the winners until we make the announcement at our annual WEGO Health Awards Virtual Ceremony.
Note: A nominee’s community size (number of fans, followers, readers, members, etc.) will not be considered. The nominee is judged based on their content and fit for the award category.
🏆 Tip for Nominees: Update Your Profile | Having a completed WEGO Health profile allows judges to gain a comprehensive understanding of your mission.
I want to be a judge for the WEGO Health Awards. How can I do that?
If you’re interested in participating, please email us at awards@wegohealth.com with the subject line ‘Be a Judge’ for additional details.
Can judges be nominees or WEGO Health Award winners?
We do allow those who were nominated to participate in the network judging process. However, if a judge is nominated for a certain award, they are not allowed to judge that category. We also give the judge the option to either remove themselves from the running or give up their judge’s spot.
How do you pick your judges?
We have many patient leaders, patients, caregivers, industry leaders, previous winners, finalists and Patient Leader Network members who connect with us throughout the year. Many of them express interest in being involved with the WEGO Health Awards. The WEGO Health team compiles a list of those enthusiasts throughout the year and connects with each before our WEGO Health Awards season. We then chat about the details, time commitment, and what is expected of the judges. Once they confirm they would like to officially participate, they are in.
How do you score the nominees? What criteria do judges use when selecting semi-finalists, finalists, and winners?
Judges score nominees on the following criteria:
• Fit for the Award | How well does this person fit the category they are nominated for? For example: if they are nominated for Rookie of the Year, have they only recently started their advocacy journey?
• Use of Social Media | How well does this Patient Leader use social media for their activism? Are they active, engaged, and responsive on their networks? Are they a power user of social media and active on multiple profiles?
• Focus on sharing of information and overall engagement | How well does this Patient Leader balance sharing of their own content with the sharing of others’ content and information?

CELEBRATION
October
The health of our community members is of utmost importance during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Though we’d love to celebrate in person, after much discussion and feedback from our Patient Leader Advisory board, we have decided to make the celebration strictly virtual to ensure all of our WEGO Health Award winners are safe and included.
Going virtual doesn’t mean the celebration stops though! We’re partnering with HLTH to bring patient leaders to the forefront of this industry celebration. Winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony during the HLTH event in early October 2020.
This year, winners will receive:
• $500 cash prize to be used towards advocacy efforts or travel
• Compensated WEGO Health 2021 Patient Leader Advisory Board Seat (estimated cash value $1500)
• Feature as a worlds’ top patient expert in HLTH’s patient-centered webinar series, as well as industry exposure opportunities throughout the year*
*Winners will have priority for speaking engagement and industry exposure events throughout 2021, depending on the state of COVID-19.
We are so eager for another season of celebrating patient leaders. There are so many tremendous patient advocates, influencers, and collaborators out there doing powerful work – we look forward to shining a much-deserved spotlight on them!
We encourage you to view all of the current WEGO Health Awards nominees in the nominee directory
Click here to view the nominees.
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More questions? Please feel free to refer to the WEGO Health Awards FAQ Page.
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Written by WEGO Health
WEGO Health is a mission-driven company connecting healthcare with the experience, skills and insights of patient leaders. We are the world’s largest network of patient leaders, working across virtually all health conditions and topics.

Top 10 | Patient Leader Hero

The 2019 WEGO Health Awards turned out to be our biggest celebration yet! With over 6k nominations and 130k endorsements, we were able to celebrate more Patient Leaders than ever before.

The program celebrates the top 5 finalists in each of the 15 WEGO Health Awards categories, but with so many nominations, it’s nearly impossible to shine a bright light on all these deserving nominees! In hopes of recognizing even more nominees, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Patient Leaders in each category based on community endorsements.

WEGO Health Awards Patient Leader Hero Award

These are a particularly special group of Patient Leaders. Their dedication is igniting change and their impact is indisputable. They embody the spirit of a healthcare influencer and continue to go above and beyond for their communities. These Patient Leaders are truly the heroes of the online health community.


Asa Maass | Autism Patient Leader

2019 Patient Leader Hero Winner

“I’m a dad, husband, video creator, and autism advocate. I started my YouTube channel FatheringAutism almost 3 years ago. My intention was to spread awareness and acceptance while making the world a softer place to land for my nonverbal autistic daughter Abbie. Looking around the internet I found so many amazing mothers advocating for their children but not many dads sharing their story. I decided to make it a point to break the stigma that parenting responsibilities in a special needs family falls mainly on the mom. It didn’t take long to realize the videos we made as a family really helped others.”

Follow this inspiring WEGO Health Awards winner today.


Priscilla Maass | Autism Patient Leader

2019 Patient Leader Hero Finalist

“What started with a small YouTube channel has grown into a social media presence that helps hundreds of thousands of people around the world. I am personally able to form bonds with fellow autism moms and give experience and advice on navigating through things like puberty, meltdowns, bad days, and good ones. I stress the importance of not allowing a bad moment to define your day or a diagnosis to define your life. I help other moms to realize the importance of taking time for themselves and how that makes you a better caregiver.”

Click here if you want to add Priscilla’s positive voice to your feeds.


Kristal Kent | Fibromyalgia Patient Leader

2019 Patient Leader Hero Finalist

“If through my advocacy efforts, I can make 1 person with Fibromyalgia feel less alone and validated, then it gives my pain purpose!”

Learn more about Krista and follow her on social. 


Cassidy Megan | Epilepsy Patient Leader

2019 Patient Leader Hero Finalist

Cassidy Megan created the idea of Purple Day in 2008, motivated by her own struggles with epilepsy. Cassidy’s goal is to get people talking about epilepsy in an effort to dispel myths and inform those with seizures that they are not alone. The Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia came on board in 2008 to help develop Cassidy’s idea which is now known as the Purple Day for epilepsy campaign.

Follow Cassidy on social and let her advocacy educate and inspire you. 


Lara Bloom | Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Patient Leader

2019 Patient Leader Hero Finalist

Lara Bloom is the international Executive Director of the Ehlers-Danlos Society and responsible for globally raising awareness of rare and invisible diseases, specialising in the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, hypermobility spectrum disorders (HSD) and related disorders.

Want to learn more about Lara’s advocacy? Click here.


Kristin Anthony | Cancer Patient Leader

“I entered the healthcare world when I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer in 2009. At that time, I was also experiencing breast health issues and my Mom had been diagnosed with her first breast cancer. I felt that something was not right, and started to research and ask questions though I was cautioned against doing that. I happened upon a rare genetic syndrome called Cowden Syndrome which results from a mutation of the PTEN Gene. I met many of the criteria and still had difficulty getting someone to listen. As it turns out, I was right and I do have a PTEN mutation. When I was diagnosed in 2011, there was little to no information or support available. I chose to change that and our foundation was born. Today, we have grown five fold plus since inception and awareness has improved greatly.”

Stay updated as Kristin continues to make a difference by following her.


Melissa Adams VanHouten | Gastroparesis Patient Leader

“After being diagnosed with gastroparesis in February of 2014, I became a passionate advocate for those in my community who feel voiceless and ignored. Currently, as the Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders (AGMD) Patient Education and Advocacy Specialist, co-author of the book, “Real Life Diaries: Living with Gastroparesis,” and creator and administrator of several online patient support and advocacy groups, including “Gastroparesis: Fighting for Change,” I spend my days advancing the cause of those who struggle with the sometimes devastating and life-altering effects of gastroparesis and other chronic illnesses. It is my fondest desire to empower others to advocate for awareness, better treatments, and, ultimately, cures.”

Melissa is fired up about advocacy. Follow her on social. 


Caleigh Haber-Takayama | Cystic Fibrosis Patient Leader

“Experiencing the struggles of end-stage lung disease and fighting to breathe every day gave me a new perspective on what is most meaningful in life.” Through Fight2Breathe, she aspires to increase awareness on chronic illness, genetic disease, and organ transplantation, identify and support innovative research, and amplify and focus the community to support those in the fight.

Add Caleigh to your feeds.


Rafaela Estrougo | Epilepsy Patient Leader

“Hi! I’m Rafaela, from Brazil living in LA. Was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 1 year old. Discovered my path is to help and support, but specially spread the word out there. Join the epilepsy community and raise awareness to end stigma.”

Check out the important advocacy work Rafaela is doing. 


April Stearns | Breast Cancer Patient Leader

“Four years after my diagnosis, I launched WILDFIRE Magazine as a way to create community through personal storytelling as it pertains to young women diagnosed with breast cancer. I had no magazine publishing experience but as a writer and editor, I felt called to create a roadmap of sorts, a beautiful resource for others that also served as a break from the noise of the Internet and the medical pamphlets on breast cancer. I felt a strong need to help others heal through the reading and writing of stories.”

Learn more about April and WILDFIRE and follow on social.


Want to be a hero to your community? Following these Patient Leader superstars will give you the inspiration you need.

Top 10 | Lifetime Achievement

The 2019 WEGO Health Awards turned out to be our biggest celebration yet! With over 6k nominations and 130k endorsements, we were able to celebrate more Patient Leaders than ever before.

The program celebrates the top 5 finalists in each of the 15 WEGO Health Awards categories, but with so many nominations, it’s nearly impossible to shine a bright light on all these deserving nominees! In hopes of recognizing even more nominees, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Patient Leaders in each category based on community endorsements.

WEGO Health Awards Lifetime Achievement Award

Each year we come across Patient Leaders who continue to rock the health world. These Patient leaders are true stars who continue to shine and don’t fit into just one category. Let’s face it, they’ve done it ALL!

These Top 10 Lifetime Achievement Patient Leaders are the ultimate #PatientLeader role models:


Tom Kindlon | Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Patient Leader

2019 Lifetime Achievement winner

“After being diagnosed for over a year, I realised there was a good chance I was going to be stuck being quite ill & disabled for a long period, possibly indefinitely, a prospect that wasn’t appealing. Moreover, I realised that there wasn’t a huge effort to research the illness well; it wasn’t on the radar the way many other conditions were. I have been busy for the last 23 years working away as a (voluntary) ME activist.”

Follow the WEGO Health Awards winner on social!


Kristal Kent | Fibromyalgia Patient Leader

2019 Lifetime Achievement Finalist

“I spent many years navigating the healthcare system to get an appropriate diagnosis, find knowledgeable treatment specialists, sift through misinformation about my medical condition and overcome the stigma of Fibromyalgia being a “fake disease” or it being “All In My Head.” My experiences led to frustration, and years of time wasted, With countless emergency room and hospital trips and very few treatment options. From my personal experiences I decided I could do one of two things: Wallow In Pity or Use My Experiences to be a Positive Agent of Change for the Fibromyalgia Community!”

Learn more about this positive Patient Leader and follow her social


Sharon Coyle-Saeed | IBD Patient Leader

2019 Lifetime Achievement Finalist

“Sometimes we go through things and think why? Why is this happening to me? If we think less on the where we will end up and focus on the journey, we may be open to the life lessons in the adversity.”

Find out about Sharon’s thoughtful journey by clicking here.


Cathy Chester | Multiple Sclerosis Patient Leader

2019 Lifetime Achievement Finalist

“I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when I was 27 in 1986. There were no approved medications or internet. I was scared and angry. My doctor said go home, rest and wait for another flare to call him some steroids. Then and there I decided my life’s goal was helping others with MS feel less alone, and empower, educate, and inspire them to live a positive life. My mission to help others is my passion. When followers say I’ve made a difference in their life I am on cloud nine!”

Add Cathy to your feeds and be inspired by her passionate advocacy.


Jenni Grover | Chronic Illness Patient Leader

2019 Lifetime Achievement Finalist

“I was 25 when my world was turned upside down by fibromyalgia, anxiety, asthma, and a handful of other chronic conditions. Since 2005, I’ve used my experience to build an online community for women with chronic illness who want to feel empowered despite serious illness—and taught thousands of women how to take charge of their lives through my website, videos, and speeches around the world.”

Keep up with Jenni’s advocacy efforts.


Colleen Beener | Gastroparesis Patient Leader

“Going from having a vibrant career to being too ill to work was very difficult. By helping to develop awareness and advocacy programs for other patients, I was able to channel my professional skills into something useful.”

Learn more about the important advocacy work Colleen is doing.


Lisa Deck | Stroke & Moyamoya Disease Patient Leader

Lisa is a seasoned advocate, motivational speaker and Co-Founder of Sisters@Heart Foundation. a nonprofit whose mission is to improve the lives of those affected by heart disease and stroke. For years, Lisa has engaged as an advocate, lobbyist and volunteer with the American Heart Association and has served as a Go Red for Women National Spokesperson. With her first being 20 years ago, Lisa has survived four strokes and was finally correctly diagnosed with Moyamoya Disease after her last stroke four years ago. Lisa underwent double brain surgery to treat her rare disease far from home to restore her health. Today, Lisa speaks all over the country as a motivational survivor, patient advocate and stroke and heart health ambassador with hundreds of media engagements under her belt. She is also involved as a rare disease advocate with the Moyamoya Foundation & Rare New England.

Want to be updated on Lisa and her advocacy? Add her to your feeds!


Greta Stifel | Rare Disease Patient Leader

“I am using my personal medical experience as a catalyst for positive change and outcomes. My compassion for my fellow human to not let what happened to me ever happen anyone is one of my purposes and mission. I suffer horribly and it did not have to be this way. I am doing all that I can as quickly as I can in the most strategic ways so as to make a difference and bringing forth critical mass awareness of this cancer and educating physicians, medical community at large and the public at large in this process.”

Click here to see how to follow Greta.


Kneeshe Parkinson | HIV Patient Leader

Kneeshe Parkinson is a motivational speaker, Certified Life Coach, Trainer, Facilitator, Activist, and Founder of KneesheSpeaksSTL~2018. She is an active member of the Positive Women’s Network USA-Missouri State Lead. As an active member, she was invited by Dr. Laura Cheever Deputy Associate Administrator and the Chief Medical Officer of the HIV/AIDS Bureau at Health Resources and Services Administration “Catalyzing Success: Advancing Innovation, Leverage Data, Ending the HIV Epidemic” for people fighting against the disease of HIV. In addition, she attended a luncheon hosted by the Mind, Body, and Spirit with Saint Louis County Health Department for National HIV/AIDS Aging & Awareness Day. Kneeshe was selected to receive the HIV 50 + Scholarship to attend the United States Conference on AIDS 2018 in Orlando, Florida along with being a part of the Host Committee.

Stay updated on Kneeshe’s advocacy by adding her to your feeds.


Alicia C. Staley | Cancer Patient Leader

For more than 20 years, Alicia has been passionately making a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of patient’s around the globe. Drawing from her experiences as a patient in hospitals, clinics, and cancer centers Alicia has coupled her extensive background in engineering and technology and developed a reputation as a patient advocate that can bring innovative solutions to complex problems.

Check out the advocacy work Alicia is doing and follow her.  


These Patient Leaders have accomplished a lot as advocates and show no signs of slowing down. Don’t forget to follow them!

Top 10 | Healthcare Collaborator

The 2019 WEGO Health Awards turned out to be our biggest celebration yet! With over 6k nominations and 130k endorsements, we were able to celebrate more Patient Leaders than ever before.

The program celebrates the top 5 finalists in each of the 15 WEGO Health Awards categories, but with so many nominations, it’s nearly impossible to shine a bright light on all these deserving nominees! In hopes of recognizing even more nominees, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Patient Leaders in each category based on community endorsements.

WEGO Health Awards Healthcare Collaborator Award

These Patient Leaders understand healthcare from the patient perspective, but they are also professionals with the skills and ability to help companies advance their most critical patient-facing initiatives. Speaking at conferences, consulting with healthcare companies, using their education to help make a change in the healthcare industry – these Patient Leaders are bridging the gap between industry stakeholders and healthcare consumers.


Melissa Talwar | Fibromyalgia Patient Leader

2019 Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Winner

Melissa’s advocacy work started in the early 2000’s, and she was part of the first Fibromyalgia group in Sacramento for the first Fibromyalgia Proclamation. That day ignited a passion to pursue advocacy work and find better answers for the Fibromyalgia community. She continues to bring Fibromyalgia education to patients across the country and to legislators at Capitol Hill. Be sure to connect and she’ll see you on the road!

Follow the WEGO Health Award winner on social.


AutonomicRN | Dysautonomia Patient Leader

2019 Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Finalist

“RN turned full time patient. After Dysautonomia turned my life upside down, I was forced to figure out the new normal. While each day constantly brings change and unpredictability, I’ve been able to use my experiences to give a voice to those who don’t have one. Through blogging, online advocacy, and serving on a National Leadership Team for a nonprofit as Medical, Clinical Liaison and also on their Advocacy Team, my voice now reaches individuals globally. While I loved bedside nursing, I never thought about the reach that I possibly could have on a global level. Connecting with so many patient leaders, advocates, and members of health care teams has been invaluable and has allowed me to forge new relationships that I never thought was possible.”

It’s with a heavy heart we share Kim has since passed, but please learn more about her journey and become inspired by her work.


Stacy Hurt | Cancer Patient Leader

2019 Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Finalist

“I am a passionate, outspoken health care strategist and activist. Having been a healthcare executive for 20+ years and advocating for both my disabled/special needs son and myself as a stage IV colorectal cancer survivor, I understand the need for connection and collaboration between health care professionals and patients. Empathy and communication are greatly lacking, and I am the authentic voice to bridge that gap. I am particularly interested in survivorship, invisible disabilities, patient centricity, and #doingawareness (as opposed to just “raising” awareness).”

Add Stacy to your feeds to stay updated on her advocacy.


Brianna Cardenas | Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Patient Leader

2019 Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Finalist

“As a Physician Assistant with EDS and a CSF leak, my goal is to raise awareness about these conditions both online and amongst my colleagues in the medical field. I now work as a professor in a PA program and teach my students about EDS, CSF leaks, and other chronic illnesses and how they impact patients. I am grateful for my perspective from both sides of the stethoscope and will continue to advocate for better healthcare for all of us!”

Learn more about the important work Brianna is doing and follow her on social. 


Liz Kennerley | Rare Disease Patient Leader

2019 Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Finalist

“I’m a mitochondrial disease patient and volunteer federal health policy lobbyist. My primary focus will always be rare disease legislation. However, in order to completely advocate for the 1 in 10 Americans with a rare condition other areas of health policy had to become a priority. While the legislative priorities are to help patients like all of us, the angle, legislation, and discussion are different each time. On the Hill, I have advocated alongside pharmaceutical CEOs, scientists, doctors, and patients.”

Check out Liz’s advocacy on Capitol Hil and beyond. 


Amanda Greene | Lupus Patient Leader

“As a Patient Leader, Amanda encourages other people to become your own best advocate and start by sharing their story to impact and inspire healthcare organizations to collaborate with patient communities. Amanda is known for sharing her personal healthcare experience wherever she is – whether on stage (as a keynote speaker or panelist), writing a guest post for a national healthcare organization or online.”

Follow Amanda on social.


Paolo Maccallini | ME/CFS Patient Leader

“A lot of patients have asked me why I use my little energies to study my disease, instead of just waiting for science to conquer it.There are many reasons, the first one being that I am desperate because of the cognitive disability that is worse than death. I am not concerned about the physical limitations, at all, even though I have been mostly housebound for the last 20 years. Another reason is that I like computational biology, and I started studying engineering before getting sick with the idea of switching to bioengineering after graduating. So, this is my job.”

Stay updated about Paolo’s advocacy work.


Barby Ingle | Chronic Pain Patient Leader

Cheerleader of HOPE – Barby Ingle, BSc, is an Amazon bestselling author, reality television personality, and president of International Pain Foundation (iPain) sharing her powerful story about life-changing events that forced life reflection, purpose, and her journey from wheels to heals. Barby has a degree in Social Psychology from George Mason University and more than 20 years of living with chronic pain and 30 years of motivational speaking experience.

Want to learn more about Barby? Click here to follow her on social. 


Tom Kindlon | ME Patient Leader

“After being diagnosed for over a year, I realised there was a good chance I was going to be stuck being quite ill & disabled for a long period, possibly indefinitely, a prospect that wasn’t appealing. Moreover, I realised that there wasn’t a huge effort to research the illness well; it wasn’t on the radar the way many other conditions were. I have been busy for the last 23 years working away as a (voluntary) ME activist. Much of what I concentrated on in the early years was raising awareness & understanding in Ireland with the Irish ME/CFS Association. I have done around 50 media interviews & have been featured in most of the national newspapers in Ireland. I have written dozens of press releases & have helped arrange for around 130 Irish families affected with ME to tell their story over the years in over 400 interviews. A lot more people are diagnosed here now & attitudes have improved.”

Follow Tom to be educated and inspired.


Brooke Schnittman | ADHD Patient Leader

Brooke Schnittman, MA, ACC, BCC, has been nominated for multiple awards including “Best In Show Community” and”Advocating For Another.” She is the creator of What’s Next and ADHDEdCamp. When working with clients, it is Brooke’s mission to empower them to achieve their personal goals and break through the obstacles that seem to be holding them back in life.

Add some inspiration to your feeds by following Brooke.


Top 10 | Hilarious Patient Leader

The 2019 WEGO Health Awards turned out to be our biggest celebration yet! With over 6k nominations and 130k endorsements, we were able to celebrate more Patient Leaders than ever before.

The program celebrates the top 5 finalists in each of the 15 WEGO Health Awards categories, but with so many nominations, it’s nearly impossible to shine a bright light on all these deserving nominees! In hopes of recognizing even more nominees, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Patient Leaders in each category based on community endorsements.

WEGO Health Awards Hilarious Patient Leader Award

Advocacy doesn’t have to be all business and raising awareness doesn’t have to be all work. The truly funny Patient Leaders among us bring a lightness to the online health community. They address serious subjects with humor – and we love them for it. They may be witty, sharp, dry, or just have a way to tell a story that is truly funny.

Whether you’re looking for a dose of daily laughter or hoping to connect with new Patient Leaders in the space, take a moment to meet and follow the Top 10 Hilarious Patient Leaders of the online health community.


Double Baggin’ It | IBD Patient Leaders

2019 Hilarious Patient Leader Award Winner

Danielle Gulden and Joe Teeters are IBD warriors and permanent ileostomates. They’re comedians, speakers, advocates and Two Best Friends without Buttholes! Joe and Danielle met through an ostomy support group and realized that they not only had a similar health journey, but also shared the same sense of humor and positive outlook on life. They became best friends, and soon after, Double Baggin’ It was born! DBI is their vehicle to spread awareness and advocate for patients living with inflammatory bowel diseases and ostomies. Danielle and Joe use their humor, wisdom, and stories to connect with and support other people living with ostomies and Inflammatory Bowel Disease! They believe in the power of humor, advocacy and awareness!

Learn more about Double Baggin’ It and follow the WEGO Health Awards winners now.


Myisha Malone | Crohn’s Disease Patient Leader

2019 Hilarious Patient Leader Award Finalist

“I became an advocate after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and than diagnosed with crohn’s disease in 2016 I almost lost my life twice due to this horrible disease I believe that everyone needs someone they can count on to help them through this tough tile being newly diagnosed or a professional patient accurate information is key with my support group on facebook @gmaeofcrohnsandchronicillness my goal is to raise awareness as much as possible so no one feel as alone as i felt when i was first diagnosed i love being an advocate for others”

Stay up to date with Myisha and her advocacy.


Kimberly Elayyne | Ankylosing Spondilitis Patient Leader

2019 Hilarious Patient Leader Award Finalist

“I knew that I couldn’t be the only one experiencing this so I decided to make a change the best I could. I began being an advocate in 2016 when life hit me hard. The only thing I knew how to do that saved me from the pain, was to encourage others. I want to leave this world and people better than I found it.”

Follow Kimberly on social.


Naunie Harris | Chronic Pain Patient Leader

2019 Hilarious Patient Leader Award Finalist

“I’m a 19 year old nursing student and worship leader! I have been diagnosed with multiple chronic illness’s since I was 11 and have had 12+ procedures. I have a feeding tube so I guess you could say i’m a “cheap date”! I’m currently in nursing school online as well as writing a book to be released in 2020. I share my journey through social media with humor and how being sick has changed my view on life!”

Add Naunie’s hilarious voice to your feeds.


Psoriatic Pstandup | Psoriasis Patient Leader

2019 Hilarious Patient Leader Award Finalist

“Psoriasis is a serious disease, but that doesn’t mean we have to take ourselves too seriously!
My name is Chris, and my wife and I founded Psoriatic Pstandup in 2016. I use humor to relate to others with psoriatic disease.”

You don’t want to miss out on this funny approach to advocacy!


Nicole Sigur | Cystic Fibrosis Patient Leader

“Hey there! Nicole, otherwise known as @cystic4real or “gross she’s coughing a lot”. Cystic Fibrosis patient and advocate. Double lung transplant recipient 6/14/19. 5 foot with male lungs; sorry gentlemen, I’m taken. Married 6/1/19 to best IT guy ever (if you had any question that I’m a multitasker). Mixed raced mamas girl; Ravenclaw; Capricorn. Self proclaimed comedian.”

Find out more about Nicole and add her to your feeds.


Bev ‘YumaBev’ Ribaudo | Parkinson’s Disease Patient Leader

“I have had Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease (PD) for 20+ years and use laughter and humor to treat myself and educate others about PD. I write a blog called Parkinson’s Humor and also authored a book with the same title (available on Amazon.) I write and perform PD song parodies, even though I know I can’t sing!”

Join YumaBev in laughing at Parkinson’s.


Ken Taylor | Chronic Pain Patient Leader

Ken Taylor is a caregiver for his wife who lives with multiple chronic pain conditions. Ken is a chronic pain educator, patient advocate, and vice-president of the International Pain Foundation. He is also a motivational speaker and best-selling author on pain topics, graphic designer, and reality personality.

This funny caregiver is someone you’ll want to add to your feeds!


Keeya Steel – Hell’s Bells and Mast Cells | Chronic Illness Patient Leader

“When you become allergic to chocolate, alcohol, and sunshine, you absolutely learn to cope through humor. Hell’s Bells and Mast Cells is a blog and collection of memes raising awareness about chronic illness, disability, and mast cell disease. Sometimes my humor is as dry as my eyeballs after three Zyrtec. I also am diagnosed with EDS and POTS, but I don’t want to come across as a show off.”

Click here to follow this hilarious advocate.


@TheCancerPatient | Cancer Patient Leader

While cancer is no joke, @Thecancerpatient uses social media provides a funny and therapeutic way to look at the cancer journey. His content is relatable to cancer patients and survivors of all types and stages as well as caregivers and medical providers. This satirical look at life as a cancer patient offers necessary moments of laughter along the cancer journey.

Add some laughter to your feed by connecting with @TheCancerPatient.

 

Top 10 | Rookie of the Year

The 2019 WEGO Health Awards turned out to be our biggest celebration yet! With over 6k nominations and 130k endorsements, we were able to celebrate more Patient Leaders than ever before.

The program celebrates the top 5 finalists in each of the 15 WEGO Health Awards categories, but with so many nominations, it’s nearly impossible to shine a bright light on all these deserving nominees! In hopes of recognizing even more nominees, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Patient Leaders in each category based on community endorsements.

WEGO Health Awards Rookie of the Year Award

Every year, more and more health bloggers are excited by empowerment, raising awareness, and helping others. This particular group of Patient Leaders just started their blog, site, or community work this year and are already making a huge impact. Though they’re new to the scene, they show a ton of promise and are, without a doubt, going to do amazing things in the future.

Help us welcome these Top 10 Rookies of the Year to the online health community:


Emily Garnett | Breast Cancer Patient Leader

2019 Rookie of the Year Winner

“I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at age 32, the same week my son turned two and my husband and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. (Big week for our family). After my diagnosis, I began blogging about my diagnosis, treatment, and thoughts about all of it. I found that there needed to be further conversations about the nuances of life with/around cancer, and started my podcast, The Intersection of Cancer and Life, in 2018. Since my diagnosis, I have been a corporate speaker, program organizer, advocate, and collaborator for a number of research and community groups relating to metastatic breast cancer. While I was busy with all of that, my cancer was also quite busy, and spread from my bones to my lung, liver, and brain. Despite being composed of mostly tumor at this point, I continue to blog, podcast, and talk everyone’s ear off about the need for research, advocacy, and better understanding of metastatic cancer.”

It’s with deep sadness we share Emily passed away in early 2020, read more about her legacy here.


PodcastDX | Rare Disease Patient Leader

2019 Rookie of the Year Finalist

“Many Americans turn to friends and family for support and advice when they have a health problem. Since people’s networks are expanding to include online peers, particularly in the crucible of rare disease, we decided to implement a podcast series to interview and discuss various diagnoses with actual patients. Health professionals remain the central source of information for most Americans, but “peer-to-peer healthcare” is a significant supplement. We are just entering our second year, but the impact we are making shows with our ever growing listener base. Our numbers are fast approaching 10,000, and we are picked up in dozens of countries! We hope to continue this growth as we add a new arm to our company, bringing mental health into clearer focus.”

Add PodcastDX to your feeds to stay on top of their advocacy.


The Living Tree | Fibromyalgia Patient Leader

2019 Rookie of the Year Finalist

“Helping others is something I have always been passionate about so when I started accumulating all this knowledge and tips and tricks, I knew I had to share it with others. Just like that, my YouTube channel The Living Tree was born! I love being able to share everything that I’ve learned so far and sharing my experiences with others who may need that information the most. My goal is to continue to better myself, to keep growing and learning, to continue to share my truths about life with Fibromyalgia through the good days and bad days, and to always be there for my fellow spoonies.”

Brighten up your feeds by following this passionate fresh voice.


Mia Gaudenzi | Cystic Fibrosis Patient Leader

2019 Rookie of the Year Finalist

“My story begins the day I was born although no one knew it yet, I was incredibly ill. At 3 years old I began getting frequent pneumonia’s and doctors couldn’t figure out why I was so unlucky. Mom and I would make regular trips to the ER for answers and receive the same answer over and over “your daughter is fine, she’s just caught a virus, don’t worry too much” so after many google searches and symptom checkers my mom had unofficially diagnosed me with life threatening, terminal Cystic Fibrosis. Later on genetic testing would confirm that diagnosis and my life changed forever!”

Learn more about this young leader and her advocacy.


Fab Fertility with Blair Nelson | Infertility Patient Leader

2019 Rookie of the Year Finalist

“My husband and I began trying to grow our family when we got married two years ago. Being the impatient woman I am, after 6 months of BFNs (big fat negative tests), I had to be proactive. After very basic and preliminary testing we found ourselves with a challenging infertility diagnosis and in a Reproductive Endocrinologist’s office with IVF as our only option to start a family. Marital bliss was slapped in the face with infertility reality. After our first round of IVF we were able to make 4 viable embryos to transfer. Our first attempt and our second ended in miscarriage. The miscarriage was what finally shook me to my core. My heart was broken, I was lonely and confused. I had no where to turn. So I did what anyone in this day and age would do… turned to the internet! I started Fab Fertility to find community and cope. That quickly turned into a passion to help educate and encourage others so they never felt how I did. I’m still in the middle of my journey but I feel a sense of purpose from it all and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to advocate for others trying to make their dreams of a family come true.”

Find education and encouragement by following this inspirational leader.


Rafaela Estrougo | Epilepsy Patient Leader

“Hi! I’m Rafaela, from Brazil living in LA. I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 1 year old. Discovered my path is to help and support, but especially spread the word out there. Join the epilepsy community and raise awareness to end stigma. Epilepsy doesn’t define me. And it doesn’t define you either!”

Learn and grow along with Rafaela by adding her to your feeds.


Myisha Malone | Crohn’s Disease Patient Leader

“I am dedicated to helping raise awareness for Crohn’s disease and all chronic illnesses and I run a support group on facebook called @gameofcrohnsandchronicillness. My goal is to raise awareness as much as possible so no one feel as alone as I felt when I was first diagnosed. I love being an advocate for others.”

Love to be educated and inspired? Click here to follow Myisha.


Ellen Bookman | Parkinson’s Disease Patient Leader

“It took a Parkinson’s diagnosis to realize I have a gift. The other day, John, one of my boxer friends, said to me ‘thanks for being my friend and making my situation easier.’ To anyone who will listen, here’s my message — Get up. Get up now, and don’t wait for a diagnosis to change your life. And, if you happen to get a life changing diagnosis, my advice is to LIVE. JUST LIVE!!!!”

Check out Ellen and her positive advocacy.


Jamie Teachey-Pyle | Chronic Illness and Mental Health Patient Leader

“Before I became disabled I was a teacher. I will teach forever. I will teach people to advocate. I will teach people to KNOW THEIR patient rights. I will be an unpaid patient advocate. It took 30 years for me to get a diagnosis. I will teach people to advocate so this does not happen to them.”

Stay updated on Jamie’s incredible advocacy by following her.


Fabulous and Fatigued – Sara Naveed | Fibromyalgia Patient Leader

“It’s difficult having an invisible illness – being in a place where nobody can ever tell how it impacts you on a daily basis, yet it affects every single decision you make in your life. I’ve come to realize that I consider it to be a blessing, and a curse at the same time.”

Click here to learn more about Sara and to add her to your feeds.


These rookies are ready for the big leagues. Don’t forget to follow them!

Top 10 | Best in Show: YouTube

The 2019 WEGO Health Awards turned out to be our biggest celebration yet! With over 6k nominations and 130k endorsements, we were able to celebrate more Patient Leaders than ever before.

The program celebrates the top 5 finalists in each of the 15 WEGO Health Awards categories, but with so many nominations, it’s nearly impossible to shine a bright light on all these deserving nominees! In hopes of recognizing even more nominees, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Patient Leaders in each category based on community endorsements.

WEGO Health Awards Best in Show: YouTube Award

The Best in Show: Youtube category highlights the individuals and teams who’s videos are at the core of their advocacy. Whether they capture their day to day lives, offer how-to videos, highlight resources, or educate and raise awareness, they’re engaging followers through creative but informational content. As of 2019, 80% of global internet consumption is video. So if you have yet to bring your advocacy to video, maybe you want to get inspired by these Top 10 Best in Show: YouTubers.

The Aspie World | Asperger’s Syndrome Patient Leader

2019 Best in Show: YouTube Winner

Dan is a YouTuber from the UK who aims to educate others about Asperger’s and Autism. His high-energy and often entertaining videos are well-received by his over 115K subscribers.

Click here to follow the WEGO Health Awards winner. 


Asa Maass | Autism Patient Leader

2019 Best in Show: YouTube Finalist

“I’m a dad, husband, video creator, and autism advocate. I started my YouTube channel FatheringAutism almost 3 years ago. My intention was to spread awareness and acceptance while making the world a softer place to land for my nonverbal autistic daughter Abbie. Looking around the internet I found so many amazing mothers advocating for their children but not many dads sharing their story. I decided to make it a point to break the stigma that parenting responsibilities in a special needs family falls mainly on the mom.”

Find out how to watch Asa’s fun and educational videos.


Violin MD | Healthcare Patient Leader

2019 Best in Show: YouTube Finalist

Siobhan is a violinist turned doctor who uses YouTube to share an inside look at practicing medicine. Her videos often educate in an accessible way about health and wellness.

Add Violin MD to your feeds.


Priscilla Maass | Autism Patient Leader

2019 Best in Show: YouTube Finalist

“12 years ago my daughter was diagnosed with ASD. Like most parents do, we were instant advocates for our child working to ensure a quality future for her. 3 years ago my husband had this crazy idea that our family could also advocate for others by sharing our day to day lives as an autism family. What started with a small YouTube channel has grown into a social media presence that helps hundreds of thousands of people around the world. I am personally able to form bonds with fellow autism moms and give experience and advice on navigating through things like puberty, meltdowns, bad days, and good ones. I stress the importance of not allowing a bad moment to define your day or a diagnosis to define your life. I help other moms to realize the importance of taking time for themselves and how that makes you a better caregiver.”

Check out the important work Priscilla is doing and follow her on social. 


Christa Holmans – Neurodivergent Rebel | Autism Patient Leader

2019 Best in Show: YouTube Finalist

“I don’t think being autistic makes me defective or broken. I believe that I have a different type of mind, that allows me to view the word with unique and fresh perspective. This idea is controversial, because, autistic people also have weaknesses. Despite my difficulties, I LOVE being autistic and would never want to give it up. Follow me to find out how autism isn’t what most people think it is.”

Learn more about Christa.


Amy Lee Fisher | Chronic Illness Patient Leader

“I suffer with chronic illness but I’m determined not let it get in the way of doing what i love! I LOVE spreading awareness about chronic illness & I LOVE making videos and even better I love making them for you guys and watching you all enjoy them!”

Find out how to follow Amy.


Michaela Davert | Osteogenesis Imperfecta Patient Leader

“As a society, I’ve noticed and learned we view disability and other health conditions as a tragedy and sadness. As I begin to notice this more and more, I wanted to continue my advocacy work in a way that would reach more people. This is when I started my YouTube channel, FunsizedStyle. I wanted to share the joy that I have for life not in spite of, but because of my disability. On my channel, I do educational videos about my disability and other health conditions I have to teach others. And I enjoy educating those about my health. My hope is that my platform is a way to let others know who are experiencing similar challenges, that they have a purpose and have so much to offer. I also use my platform in an additional avenue of advocacy besides just my health. I hope to be a new face to the beauty and fashion industry. Many strides have been made to showcase women in the beauty and fashion industry with disabilities, but there is still a long way to go.”

Follow Michaela on social.


Carissa Barzee | Infertility Patient Leader

“My husband and I have been going through infertility for almost 5 years and we have shared it on social media for over 2 years. We have done multiple fertility treatments (meds & ti, IUI, and IVF). We have also experienced the heartbreak of child loss twice. Our biggest goal is to help others feel less alone, educate in the best way we can, while also sharing that you can still find joy in the journey. We are sooo grateful to have a platform and to be a voice for others.”

Add Carissa’s positive voice to your feeds.


Our LANDing Crew – Stephanie Pesterfield | Autism Patient Leader

“We are a down to earth large family of 8. We show what it’s like to be a special needs family while tackling homeschooling, autism, mom life, cleaning, and family fun.”

Follow this family for education, support, and fun!


Kelsey Ohs | Cerebral Palsy Patient Leader

“I believe that having a child with a disability has been the greatest privilege I’ve ever been entrusted with. I dedicate time in my busy schedule to share with the world that although life with a disabled child is hard work, it’s not all that bad – in fact, it’s the greatest journey of my life.”

Stay updated as Kelsey advocates and educates through video.


Be sure to subscribe to these powerful Youtube accounts for more inspiration!

Top 10 | Advocating for Another

The 2019 WEGO Wellness Honors became our most significant event yet! With over 6k elections and also 130k recommendations, we had the ability to commemorate even more Patient Leaders than ever.

The program commemorates the leading 5 finalists in each of the 15 WEGO Health Awards groups, however with many elections, it’s virtually difficult to radiate an intense light on all these deserving candidates! In hopes of acknowledging a lot more candidates, we’ve assembled the Top 10 Patient Leaders in each group based upon neighborhood recommendations.

WEGO Health Awards Advocating for Another Award

Sometimes the leading Patient Leaders aren’t individuals, however instead caretakers and also for any person that is an individual, you understand simply just how much your caretaker sustains you. Below are the Top 10 Advocating for Another Patient Leader all-stars, whose interest for campaigning for originates from the love of an additional.


Autism_irl|Autism Patient Leader 2019 Advocating for Another Winner”I am a BCBA as well as Autism Sibling that has actually invested the previous 10 years operating in the autism area. 2 years earlier, I returned to Upstate NY to aid my family members take care of my sibling, Robert, that is autistic. Robert has some extreme ability shortages as well as behavior unwanteds that stop him from living an independent life. I am utilizing my expertise in the area of ABA and also my experience as an autism expert to aid him get required life abilities in order to live a satisfying, effective, as well as satisfied life. Peeks of my sibling’s trip as an autistic grownup can be

seen on our Instagram web page. Sharing our lives on social networks


has actually permitted me to get in touch with numerous outstanding people in the autism area as well as

has actually managed me an electrical outlet to promote in behalf of people that are not able to support on their own. “Comply With the WEGO Health Award champion on social! Priscilla Maass|Autism Patient Leader 2019 Advocating for Another Finalist “12 years ago my little girl was identified with ASD. Like the majority of moms and dads do, we were instantaneous supporters for our kid functioning to make certain a high quality future for her. 3 years ago my spouse had this insane suggestion that our family members might likewise promote for others by sharing our daily lives as an autism household. What began with a tiny YouTube network has actually become a social media sites existence that aids numerous countless individuals worldwide. I am directly able to develop bonds with fellow autism mommies as well as provide experience and also suggestions on browsing via points like the age of puberty, crises, negative days, as well as excellent ones. I worry the relevance of not permitting a negative minute to specify your day or a medical diagnosis to specify your life. I assist various other mamas to understand the relevance of taking some time on their own as well as just how that makes you a far better caretaker. If I needed to explain myself in one word it would certainly be” favorable “. I

simply experienced weight-loss surgical treatment to guarantee I was about as lengthy as feasible for my little girl. With sharing my worries, battles, as well as accomplishments I’ve developed


a tiny household of various other caretakers and also mothers that share their very own fat burning trip. We are

a lot greater than a YouTube network. We have actually discovered that by sharing our overview on life we

can give others with hope. “Find out more regarding Priscilla as well as follow her campaigning for trip. Pascazia Mazeze |

Sickle Cell Disease Patient Leader 2019 Advocating for Another Finalist”In 2015, remarks


like”Your child does not appear like he has sickle cell condition “passionately pressurized me to begin thinking about the methods which I can get to many others, specifically moms and dads as well as

caretakers to approve and also take excellent treatment of their sickle cell youngsters as well as likewise

stay clear of the misconceptions that have actually been developed over sickle cell illness. My leisure time was currently committed to assist households influenced straight or indirect with sickle cell illness, spending quality time to inform them as well as elevating recognition on sickle cell illness to the area around me. In a culture that is much less informed and also much less mindful regarding sickle cell condition I DECIDED TO BE THE CHANGE.” Go here to comply with Pascazia as she makes a distinction for sickle cell households. LeAnna Headley|Pediatric Cancer Patient Leader 2019 Advocating for Another Finalist

“Childhood cancer cells is the leading reason of fatality by condition, eliminating 7 youngsters today in the United States. It is an epidemic that is discussed really little. In the previous 30 + years, just 3 medications have actually been created for youngsters, while hundreds have actually been established for particular grown-up cancers cells. Kids are being offered grown-up medicines in pint-sized kind and also it is unfair. I chose I intended to do something extra substantial for these children so I started sending out as well as supplying treatment bundles all throughout the United States to youngsters dealing with. I have had the outright opportunity of fulfilling these family members and also seeing the distress very first hand.

I have actually listened to the sobs, seen the discomfort and also absence of therapy choices as well as it has


just made me much more enthusiastic regarding the reason. These children have actually come to be close friends to me, some also household.”Sign up with LeAnna as she makes a distinction for kids with cancer cells. Tory Aquino|Juvenile Arthritis Patient Leader 2019 Advocating for Another Finalist Tory supporters for her child, Mariah, as well as defend all households impacted by adolescent joint inflammation. On social networks, Tory makes use of the take care of Mariah’s Movers where she produces area, shares pointers, as well as aids to drive study onward. Click on this link to adhere to Tory on social. Isaac Okello|Sickle Cell Disease Patient Leader Isaac Okello has actually been doing Sickle Cell advocacy for the last 3 years in Uganda.He sustains and also adds exceptionally to enhance lifestyle of people dealing with sickle cell condition throughout the Country. He remains to progress treatment and also therapy by sustaining research study as well as promoting with the federal government on part its components. He additionally communicates with area companies and also risk owners to bring even more understanding to this illness. Isaac Okello is the Founder of Raising Hope International Friends(RHIF) company based in Uganda that does Awareness of Sickle Cell Disease in Uganda. He is presently the Executive Director for Raising Hope International Friends( RHIF ). RHIF has actually a technique laid to enlighten and also animate 2,000,000 Ugandan, examination 100,000 Ugandans and also 2,000 Sickle Cell sufferers on enhanced treatment by 2030. RHIF is planned to develop self-confidence, elevate self-worth, enhance the wellness condition as well as encourage the neighborhood we deal with to get involved completely in their very own event as well as choice making to help with area based tasks. #strongerTogether Visit this site to adhere to Isaac. PodcastDX|Unusual Disease Patient Leader PodcastDX is a regular meeting based podcast collection. Individuals offer experience based clinical understanding, in a peer to peer layout. Numerous Americans count on loved ones for assistance as well as recommendations when they have an illness. Given that individuals’s networks are increasing to consist of on-line peers, especially in the crucible of uncommon illness, we made a decision to apply a podcast collection to meeting as well as go over numerous medical diagnoses with real people.

Health and wellness experts stay the main resource of details for a lot of Americans, however”peer-to-peer medical care “is a considerable supplement.


Intend to get in touch with PodcastDX? Visit this site. Melissa Talwar|Fibromyalgia Patient Leader Melissa prepares to bring favorable health care experiences to the Fibromyalgia neighborhood! Her persistent discomfort trip started at the age of 14 and also after a lengthy 24 year trip of decrease as well as a shopping list of medical diagnoses, she took her wellness right into her very own hands. Via biohacking as well as individual encouraged inspiration she has actually provided herself a break in decrease and also concentrated her power on developing the not-for-profit company, International Support Fibromyalgia Network. #SupportFibro counts on partnership.

It is open, participatory and also specialized to informing, supporting as well as motivating the fibromyalgia neighborhood.


Intend to include Melissa to your people? Go here.

Cori Register|Cancer Cells Patient Leader Also as she combats her very own fight versus a Ewing’s sarcoma regression, Cori puts a large amount of power right into what she calls her “life’s enthusiasm.” She began FAM– Fighting All Monsters, something “that remains to offer me function and also inspiration to maintain going, and also maintain assisting as numerous households dealing with pediatric cancer cells as feasible.” Learn where to comply with Cori. Gustavo San Martin|Several Sclerosis Patient Leader When Gustavo was identified with several sclerosis in 2011, he chose to utilize his organization abilities to enhance the lives of various other Brazilians dealing with MS. AME– Amigos Múltiplos pela Esclerose was birthed as well as Gustavo remains to remain active promoting for others dealing with the exact same illness he does. Adhere to along as Gustavo makes a distinction. These determined supporters are making a large distinction. Allow’s reveal them some like with a comply with! Written by WEGO Health WEGO Health is a mission-driven firm linking health care with the experience, abilities and also understandings of individual leaders. We are the globe’s biggest network of person leaders, functioning throughout practically all health and wellness problems as well as subjects.

Top 10 | Best in Show: Instagram

The 2019 WEGO Health Awards turned out to be our biggest celebration yet! With over 6k nominations and 130k endorsements, we were able to celebrate more Patient Leaders than ever before.

The program celebrates the top 5 finalists in each of the 15 WEGO Health Awards categories, but with so many nominations, it’s nearly impossible to shine a bright light on all these deserving nominees! In hopes of recognizing even more nominees, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Patient Leaders in each category based on community endorsements.

WEGO Health Awards Best in Show: Instagram Award

These Top 10 Instagram Patient Leaders are leveraging the media sharing platform to raise awareness for their condition area. Through pictures, videos, and stories, these leaders are cultivating a community of support, transparency, and encouragement. For anyone looking to bring their advocacy to Instagram, these are the ones to watch for strategy, inspiration & engagement tactics!


@health_anxiety (Taylor Marae) | Mental Health Patient Leader

2019 Best in Show: Instagram Winner

Taylor Marae, registered dietitian in integrative and functional medicine, owner of the instagram account @health_anxiety and creator of @anxietytoolkit / anxietytoolkit.org. After going to extreme panic disorder, health anxiety, depression and agoraphobia, Taylor found her way to recovery and made it her life goal to help others struggling with mental health issues feel less alone. During her worst anxiety days she felt so alone like no one understood, she made it her goal to never let someone else feel that way. Today, she freely speaks about her advocacy for mental health and has shaped her career around mental health. Now, gaining over 84,000 followers she is helping so many people feel less alone. Since, she has opened up Anxiety Toolkit which provides people with boxes full of anxiety fighting products to help find peace during your peak of panic.

Get to know the WEGO Health Awards winner and follow her on social.


@CarissaBarzee (Carissa Barzee) | Infertility Patient Leader

2019 Best in Show: Instagram Finalist

“My husband and I have been going through infertility for almost 5 years and we have shared it on social media for over 2 years. We have done multiple fertility treatments (meds & ti, IUI, and IVF). We have also experienced the heartbreak of child loss twice. Our biggest goal is to help others feel less alone, educate in the best way we can, while also sharing that you can still find joy in the journey. We are sooo grateful to have a platform and to be a voice for others.”

Want to get to know Carissa? Click here.


@TheCancerPatient | Cancer Patient Leader

2019 Best in Show: Instagram Finalist

This account offers a satirical look at life as a cancer patient. It’s relatable and funny memes bring much needed laughter to the challenges of a cancer patient journey.

Add @TheCancerPatient to your feeds.


Dr. Christina Iglesia | Mental Health Patient Leader

2019 Best in Show: Instagram Finalist

On October 10th, 2018 (World Mental Health Day), Dr. Christina Iglesia launched the #therapyiscool mental health action campaign. Dr. Iglesia launched this initiative after several patients disclosed how they don’t disclose the fact that they participate in therapy, even to the closest people in their lives. Statements shared, like “My parents don’t believe in therapy” or “People would think I am crazy or something” continued to make their way into the therapy room. The theme of these conversations kept coming back to stigma, this implicit agreement that mental health issues are not to be talked about. It became clear to Dr. Iglesia that people will continue to suffer in silence until we make it socially acceptable to partake in mental health treatment, such as therapy. It is with this in mind that Dr. Iglesia created the #therapyiscool mental health action campaign, with the intent to encourage authentic and open conversations about mental health.

Find out more about Dr. Iglesia’s mission and add her to your feed.


@cinnamillie_ | Eating Disorder Patient Leader

2019 Best in Show: Instagram Finalist

After being diagnosed with the most deadly psychiatric condition (Anorexia Nervosa) at the age of 15, Millie went against all odds to become the inspiring young woman she is today. Born and raised in a little South Yorkshire town in England, Millie personifies the “she may be but little, but she is fierce” quote by Shakespeare. Since creating her Instagram account to go in-depth about her mental health struggles, Millie has amassed over 11.5K followers, as well as finding love through her account too. Millie explains the ins-and-outs of having anorexia, whilst also going into the nitty-gritty areas which are too “taboo” in society, such as the physical effects of eating disorders, the hardships that arise from weight restoration and the suicidal ideation; but, Millie manages to twist this into a positive, encouraging her followers to fight against the cruelty of eating disorders, revealing what her life is like with the illness (mostly) not in her life anymore.

Add Millie’s motivational voice to your feed.


Natalie Kelley – @plentyandwellwithnat | Ulcerative Colitis Patient Leader

“There were moments in that hospital bed I thought I would never be where I am at today – running my own business, helping other women with IBD and connecting with the most AMAZING IBD community on Instagram. But most importantly, I’ve learned that an autoimmune disease doesn’t make it harder to reach my dreams, it adds TO my dreams because without ulcerative colitis I wouldn’t have found my passions, I wouldn’t be a holistic health coach, I wouldn’t have the amazing community that I now have and I wouldn’t be able to change other IBD patients’ lives, and that is truly priceless.”

Want to learn more about Natalie? Click here to follow her.


Arafa Salim Said | Sickle Cell Disease Patient Leader

Arafa’s biggest advocacy aim is to move toward a sickle cell-free Africa in future generations. In the meantime, she promotes healthier, stronger, and more supported living with sickle cell disease. Specific objectives include country-wide pre-marital sickle cell testing, promoting literacy for young people with sickle cell, and increasing the standards of sickle cell care. Through instagram, twitter, facebook, youtube, and other social media platforms, she is able to build a large digital community that can work together toward these aims. Her digital media advocacy also offers inspiration, education, and advice for Tanzanians living with sickle cell disease. Her hope is that her efforts will lead to a brighter future for the next generation of Tanzanians.

Check out Arafa’s important advocacy work. 


Megan King @thetravelinghaloofhope | Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Patient Leader

“Becoming an advocate for EDS happened by chance. My journey began in Sept. 05′ at 16. I can’t believe 1 decision changed the trajectory of my life forever. I’ve endured 35 surgeries due to EDS with the next 1 scheduled for Sept. 19′. Due to limited resources I wrote about my journey in the hopes to connect with others. I want to be a small part of the solution for EDS treatments. It’s classified as rare but it really isn’t. No two cases of EDS are the same. This can make diagnosis difficult because there’s no “face” to EDS. We are all unique individuals with our own unique presentation of symptoms. As I wrote, to my surprise, people responded to what I was sharing.”

Follow Megan and see the important work she’s doing.


Rachel Straining – @thenoglutengirl | Crohn’s Disease Patient Leader

“When I was first diagnosed, even though I knew it wasn’t true, I just felt like the only person in the world who had this disease. I didn’t realize that there were other people out there who were fighting battles so similar to one that was waging war within my own life. ⁣One day, I made the random decision to make an Instagram account to find some gluten-free food inspiration. That day, I also found myself searching the hashtag “Crohn’s Disease.” That day, I realized that, all along, I had never really been alone.”

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Lucy Johnbosco | Diabetes Patient Leader

“I have been using my Diabetes experience as a Type One diabetes patient to motivate and inspire others who have lost hope.”

Inspired by Lucy’s mission? Add her to your feed.


Don’t forget to follow these Top 10 advocacy accounts on Instagram for more inspiration!