Can you recognize an Everyday Health Hero?

Everyday Health Heroes are everywhere in our community. Consider the volunteer who delivers meals and, without being formal or intrusive about it, also checks on the physical and mental well-being of his or her clients. Another hero helps friends quit smoking. Yet another person grows organic vegetables for the benefit of friends and neighbors.

The Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation (WWHF) Everyday Health Heroes Award program recognizes “individuals who have made a positive impact on the health and welfare of their families and communities.” Candidates aren’t necessarily employed in the medical or mental health profession; rather, they may have fundraised to better a school luncheon menu or have shown creativity in how they live a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps they helped someone else make a change to improve their health.

Nominations are open and the possibilities are endless. Think, for example, of Dan Dingmann and Tut Gramling, co-founders of Camp Endeavor, who help obese children and teens have a safe and fun camp experience without bullying. Just as important, the camp gives young adults the opportunity to learn to prepare (and prefer) nutritional meals once they return home.

Think grand, institutional change agents, but also think smaller, too, remembering those who do seemingly random acts of (health) kindness. Consider the hospice volunteer who brightens those precious last days and helps families provide the best endings to well-lived lives. Nominate the teenager who has run in a wellness-focused event for five years, or the person who makes the rounds with a therapeutic pet to comfort others and improve their quality of life. Remember the neighbor who volunteered to drive shut-ins to the pharmacy to get a low-cost flu shot!

The Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation is led by visionary Sue Ann Thompson, who explains the group’s mission: “While I traveled as Wisconsin’s first lady after my recovery from breast cancer, I heard the personal stories of women all over this state, and I quickly learned that not all women were aware of their health risks or had equal access to health information and care. I vowed to help, and in 1997 I established the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation. We connect women of all economic and ethnic groups, educational levels, geographic locations, and ages with the resources they need to become advocates for their own health.”

Aren’t change-by-example and health advocacy grand things to recognize – and then reward? WWHF will give honorees complimentary tickets to the WWHF Annual Spring Gala (May 4, 2013), valuable gift certificates from local businesses, and recognition at the pre-gala VIP auction on May 4.

It’s easy to nominate someone online – with the March 11 deadline just around the corner, nominating someone today could be your random act of health kindness!

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