WWHF Everyday Health Heroes are men and women who have made a positive impact on the health and welfare of their families and communities. We will recognize four Heroes who demonstrate courage, creativity, generosity, leadership, and perseverance and who live out the WWHF mission of helping women and families reach their healthiest potential in their everyday lives. This year’s semi-finalists:
Araceli has made women’s health the mission of her life’s work. She is committed to improving the lives of women all over the world and started a program called “Health by Motorbike”(HbM) that brings health literacy and medical services to women and girls in the most remote rural communities of southeast Kenya. At UW-Madison, she teaches Medical Spanish to students in health-related fields, and Women’s Health courses for the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. Araceli is not only an instructor, but she is a mentor and supporter of students who are interested in women’s health as a career. Araceli works tirelessly to support women’s wellness and does so with grace and passion.
By day, Mary is a database specialist at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. By night and weekend, she is a tireless breast cancer advocate, community volunteer, and caregiver for elderly family members and neighbors. Mary and her son, John, created the “Bowling for a Cure” event that has raised over $21,000 to support breast cancer research. She also goes out of her way to support women who are cancer survivors. For example, in December, Mary popped into a co-workers office with a package wrapped in pink saying, “your sister-in-law is a survivor, right? Give her this when you see her for the holidays.” Mary is also active in the Luke House Community Meal Program. In 1986, she spearheaded her church’s involvement with the meal program and her efforts have resulted in nearly 30 years of meals on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Mary is kind, generous, and always gracious.
Since diagnosis with a rare form of pancreatic cancer 8 years ago, Tammy has been the catalyst behind an effort to raise awareness and funds for pancreatic cancer. She lobbies Congress and the NIH, raises funds for research, and holds the hand of those losing their battles with the disease. She uses personal time and energy to fight hard to combat this under-recognized and under-funded cancer, reaching out to families via phone, email, flowers, and lunches. Tammy’s courage and willingness to share about her diagnosis and battle with cancer has served as an inspiration for countless other women and families in Wisconsin. Tammy was nominated by the NET Alliance for the work that she has done raising awareness.
|Lisa Peyton Caire
Driven by her late mother’s struggle and untimely death from heart disease in May 2006, Lisa conceived and launched Black Women's Wellness Day in Washington, DC in 2008. Lisa brought this annual health summit to Madison in 2012, drawing an overflow crowd of women whose ages spanned generations. Lisa’s mission is to inform, inspire, and empower women and girls to live healthier, wellness-centered lives and she is motivating women to take personal responsibility for their health outcomes. Lisa teaches that frequent check-ups, clean eating, regular exercise, and living in balance throughout the lifespan positively impacts all aspects of women’s health and wellness. In her words, “prevention is powerful. Women can do so much for our own health if we just change our habits a little bit. It starts with us.” Lisa recently developed the Foundation for Black Women's Wellness, a Wisconsin based non-profit organization committed to eliminating health disparities and other barriers impacting Black women through education, outreach, and support circles. Lisa is also actively engaged in a number of local efforts to promote healthy, thriving, sustainable communities.
Dustin is a personal trainer, fitness instructor, writer, and founder of Fit Moms for Life. Dustin is 29 and has already built a highly successful career around helping thousands women achieve their fitness and nutrition goals. He has 10 fitness locations around Madison. Dustin helps women take control of their own health by empowering them to make healthy changes that can impact the entire family; He knows that that he will influence the next generation’s health tomorrow by working with moms today. Dustin has become known as “America’s Trainer to Moms” and we are very fortunate to have him as a member of our Madison community.
Molly is a specialist working with children on the Autism Spectrum. She is an insightful and gifted clinician; Parents sometimes refer to her as “the kid whisperer” because of her unique ability to connect with children when few others are able to. Although the children are Molly’s patients, she knows that supporting moms is vital to the welfare of the whole family. She never loses sight of the fact that families are trying to function as a unit within the therapy system and she provides ideas on options and alternatives for parents during particularly challenging times. Molly’s impact is evidenced by the hundreds of happy, funny, talkative kids who are now thriving as a result of her tireless work.
Sara has led the explosive growth of Girls on the Run of Dane County for the last six years, reaching over 4,000 girls in the process. Sara is an enthusiastic and passionate leader, helping build the next generation of women leaders through healthy lifestyle programming, curriculum and exercise. Girls on the Run addresses many aspects of girls’ development – their physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being. The lessons that Sara and her coaches provide teach girls how to make healthy choices and avoid risky adolescent behaviors. Girls on the Run unleashes confidence through accomplishment, while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness. Sara’s professional skills are outstanding and her leadership supporting girls’ wellness is inspiring.
David has spent the last 20+ years coaching high school girls’ varsity basketball in Appleton, WI. He has helped countless young women in more ways than he knows. David supported girls struggling with anorexia, depression, abuse, money issues, and weight/body image challenges. He genuinely cares about each of his players and goes out of his way to help them when possible, even after they’ve graduated. For example, he sends care packages to girls struggling in their first weeks of college, condolence cards after miscarriages, and diapers to new moms. David creates a healthy environment where girls can find friendship, support, and understanding of the big picture and how everyday choices make a big difference down the road.
Jonelle is the Executive Assistant/Webmaster for Attic Angel Association and, every day, she helps her colleagues make healthier choices through leading by example. Jonelle is a member of the Wellness Committee for the community. She and Lisa McGlynn offer weekly meditation classes to the employees and, when time and space become available, she plans to offer classes to the residents and Attic Angel volunteers as well. Jonelle invites co-workers to attend yoga class with her and offers nonjudgmental suggestions for healthy eating, not to mention tantalizing colleagues with her delicious looking lunches! Jonelle shares her enthusiasm for fitness and shares new ideas or challenges that she enjoyed. She also readily shares her amazing laughter and encourages a healthy work/life balance. Jonelle is a “great guns” rock star at Attic Angel and all of her colleagues appreciate her efforts to keep them thinking and living healthy!
Trista is a 27 year old single-mom who has worked hard to overcome many obstacles in her life, and she has become a healthier person in the process! Trista overcame postpartum depression, lost over 100 pounds, and is training for a half marathon. She inspired friends to join her on a food diary phone app to help them make healthy choices and improved her family’s health with calorie-conscious recipes and fresh produce from the farmer’s market. Trista will soon be a guest blogger for a health blog and will inspire even more women to make healthy changes in their own lives.