Meet Our 2016 Health Hero Challenge VIPs!

When the Health Hero Challenge Finals kick off on October 24th, you’ll be able to vote for your favorite Health Hero VIP, too!

From left to right: Marc Vetri; Ali Gorman; Malcolm Jenkins.

From left to right: Marc Vetri; Ali Gorman; Malcolm Jenkins.

The time is a comin’, guys: On October 24th, voting for the Health Hero Challenge Finals kicks off. As you might remember, last year, along with our four fabulous Health Hero Finalists, we also had a VIP portion of the Health Hero Challenge. VIP stands for Very Influential Philadelphian, big names in Philly who are making big moves to positively impact the city’s health.

So, who’s up this year, you ask? Well, this year’s Health Hero Challenge VIPs are some awesome folks you probably already love: Marc Vetri, chef and cofounder of the Vetri Community Partnership; Malcolm Jenkins, safety for the Philadelphia Eagles and founder of the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation; and Ali Gorman, the health reporter at 6abc Action News.

This year, like last year, when you vote for your favorite Health Hero Challenge Finalist, you’ll also be able to cast a vote for your favorite Health Hero VIP. Each of them is rallying for a charity of their choice (you can check out their chosen charities below) and along with being featured in an upcoming issue of Philadelphia magazine, the winning VIP’s charity of choice will become a beneficiary of a future Philadelphia magazine event. Last year, Rich Landau of Vedge took home the win and we are oh-so-excited to see who takes home the win this year.

You can find out more about our Health Hero VIPs below in their Q&As below. Then mark your calendars to start voting (you’ll vote here, by the way) on October 24th!

marc vetriMarc Vetri, Chef and Founder at Vetri Family of Restaurants

The charity he’s fighting for: Vetri Community Partnership, a non-profit that aims to educate and empower families through fresh food and hands-on experiences.


Who or what motivates you to be healthy?
Life motivates me to be healthy. You feel better, look better and can function better when you lead a healthy lifestyle. Once you start feeling this, it starts to overtake you. It’s a great feeling

Describe a health or fitness-related turning point in your life.
I didn’t really have a specific turning point. I always took very good care of myself. I certainly eat better and watch more now than ever because I have a family and I want to be there for them always.

What is your mission in the health and wellness community? Why?
My mission is to help kids understand the relationship between healthy eating and healthy living. People can lead such a better life if they take care of themselves. That’s why this understanding is so essential.

What’s the most important part of your health or fitness regimen?
Eating right is everything. What you put into your body is by far the most important thing. But you can’t fix this unless you have access and understand what foods do to your mind and your body.

What is your number one piece of health-related advice or encouragement?
Start with something and have a good balance. Learn how to cook one vegetable and slowly branch out into other things. Do some kind of physical activity, anything. You have to start somewhere.


ali gormanAli Gorman, 6abc Action News health reporter

The charity she’s fighting for: Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises awareness for and supports teens and young adults who are battling cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

What motivates you to be healthy?
Honestly just the way it makes me feel. I feel so much better physically and emotionally when I eat healthy, exercise and get enough sleep.

Describe a health or fitness-related turning point in your life.
After college, I was feeling a bit stagnant. I was working as a nurse in the U.S. Navy and professionally things were going well, but outside of work I felt like I needed a goal. A friend asked me to run the Chicago Marathon with him. I thought it was an insane idea but also insanely exciting! So we trained together and then ran 26.2 miles. It was fantastic. I ended up signing up the following year as well and broke the 4 hour goal I was shooting for by 7 minutes! Nothing gets you out of a rut like setting a goal.

What is your mission in the health and wellness community? Why?
I aim to inspire and educate people to live healthier lives at any age and at all levels of ability. There are always little things you can do that can help you feel better and improve your overall health. Recently a woman stopped me on the street and told me she saw one of my stories and felt inspired to make some changes and join a local group of women who work out together. She lost 50 pounds! Her story made my day.

What’s the most important part of your health or fitness regimen?
It kind of all works together but I’d say for fitness it’s variety. I tend to get bored doing the same thing so I like to mix it up. As many people know, I am always bouncing around different fitness classes in the city. It helps keep things fresh and it’s also how I get a lot of my ideas for “Fitness Friday” segments on Action News. Moderation is also key. As long as I eat healthy most of the time I feel good.

What is your number one piece of health-related advice or encouragement?
Small changes yield big results over time. Don’t get sucked into fad diets or cleanses. Instead, look for little changes you can make to be healthier. For fitness, find something you enjoy and if you can enlist a friend or your family to join you, that’s even better.


malcolm jenkinsMalcolm Jenkins, Football safety for the Philadelphia Eagles and founder of the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation

The charity he’s fighting for: The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to positively impact the lives of youth, particularly youth in underserved communities, through innovative programs like S.T.E.A.M. (The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation is hosting Blitz, Bow-Ties & Bourbon on Monday, October 24th. Funds raised from Blitz Bow Ties & Bourbon support the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation’s Summer S.T.E.A.M. program.) 

Who or what motivates you to be healthy?
I have to live a healthy lifestyle in order to do my career. It takes a great deal of discipline and focus to eat healthy and to make sure I get the proper nutrients and vitamins.

Describe a health or fitness-related turning point in your life.
When I joined the Eagles organization, I really learned a lot about sports science. The organization and its leadership changed the way I thought about sleep and the way I train. It’s led to two of the healthiest years of my career back to back.

What is your mission in the health and wellness community? Why?
Educating kids and parents on how to live healthy lifestyles and understanding the importance safety in youth sports.

What’s the most important part of your health or fitness regimen?
Sleep. As I mentioned before I’ve learned a great deal as it relates to sports science and sleep is a key component.

What is your number one piece of health-related advice or encouragement?
Make sure you exercise often. Be mindful of what you eat and make sure you get plenty of rest.

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