Through the annual Faces of Wellness program, Alberta Blue Cross® is recognizing Albertans who are everyday champions for wellness in their own lives, workplaces and communities. This includes 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.
People like Steven Prudhomme, the grand prize winner of the 2021 Faces of Wellness program. Steven overcame drug and alcohol addiction to become a social worker and now works in Edmonton’s inner city to support vulnerable populations and help others discover life beyond addiction. “I went from this cookie cutter perfect kid to an image of a character you’d only see in the movies,” said Steven. “After the hospital, I went into an addiction treatment centre with the idea that I would play along and then I’d be free to go back to what I knew. Well, I was wrong.” Steven was awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to Banff for his inspiring testament to perseverance through a time of extreme hardship.
First launched in July 2021, the Faces of Wellness campaign received more than 140 applications and nominations from Albertans across the province by the closing date in September. Stories ranged from overcoming obstacles related to physical injuries and chronic diseases, championing mental health in the workplace, inspiring colleagues to become more physically active and leading hiking groups for seniors. Alberta Blue Cross recognized one grand prize recipient, 10 finalists and 17 special honourees.
Last year’s finalists included a young woman who lost her foot and part of her leg in a life-threatening lawnmower accident but, through her rehab journey, went on to compete at the Paralympic games in Tokyo in fall 2021; a senior who leads a hiking group for fellow seniors; a mom who lost more than 150 pounds in two years by going from being completely sedentary to running six kilometres four days a week and now mentors others from around the globe; and an Indigenous community member who not only turned his diabetes diagnosis into an opportunity to improve his own health and inspire others but also, after overcoming COVID-19, started an online COVID support group for others.
One of the 2021 finalists, Jeremy Neufeld, was diagnosed with heart failure, chronic pain and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in a six-year span and is now an advocate for mental health at his workplace. “Jeremy is a strong, hardworking, wellness-minded, caring and empathic role model in everything he does,” says Jeremy’s friend and colleague. “He epitomizes what it means to be a face of wellness.”
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 November 1, 2022, and award recipients will be announced in December. To enter and learn more, visit facesofwellness.ca.