In 2021, Alberta Blue Cross® launched the Faces of Wellness program to celebrate Albertans who are champions for wellness in their communities. Each year, the program recognizes those making positive lifestyle changes toward becoming healthier, promoting a health-related cause, making the most of life while living with a chronic condition, advocating for wellness in their workplace, standing up for mental health or acting as a role model for others. For the third annual Faces of Wellness program, Alberta Blue Cross is once again looking for inspiring individuals to showcase and reward.
Individuals like Lauren Kennedy West, the grand prize recipient of the 2022 Faces of Wellness program. Lauren embodies living well with schizophrenia not only through her personal wellness but also by sharing her experiences with the world. Through her YouTube channel, “Living Well with Schizophrenia,” Lauren provides a safe space for people who would have otherwise felt alone in their experiences with schizophrenia. As a mental health advocate and a pillar of support in the community, Lauren is a face of wellness.
In 2022, the Faces of Wellness campaign received more than 360 applications and nominations from Albertans across the province by the closing date in November. These applications included a recreational therapist who teaches Indigenous-informed yoga and works to remove barriers for those in need; a firefighter who volunteers with his dog to provide support for those in retirement homes, hospitals and schools; and an ovarian cancer survivor who uses training and community groups to stay well and raised money for the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope.
There are many inspiring honourees of the 2022 Faces of Wellness program, including Sydney Hampshire who was told she might never walk or speak again. At nine years old, Sydney had an ischemic stroke which left her completely paralyzed on her left side. She didn’t let that stop her. With some creative modifications, Sydney enjoys snowboarding, cross-country skiing, biking, hiking, camping and canoeing. Using her experiences as a child, Sydney obtained a masters of rehabilitation sciences, co-founded Click&Push Accessibility Inc. and created an app called The Atlas.
“I always encourage others to work towards the life they want for themselves, regardless of the hand they have been dealt, and continuously strive to uplift others.”
You can apply or nominate someone you know to be recognized as a face of wellness for a chance to win amazing wellness-themed prizes, including the grand prize of a weekend away in the Alberta Rockies. The deadline to apply for Faces of Wellness is October 1, 2023, and award recipients will be announced in December. To enter and learn more, visit facesofwellness.ca.