Health Hero Challenge

Celebrating 2019’s Incredible Be Well Philly Health Hero

We're thrilled to announce the 2019 Be Well Philly Health Hero winner, and celebrate our finalists.


Be Well Philly Health Hero 2019 finalists. / Photography by Theresa Regan

After thousands of votes, hundreds of nominations, and months of waiting, on December 3rd (Giving Tuesday!) we officially announced the 8th annual Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge winner. The event was held at the Curtis Atrium by Constellation Culinary. The Health Hero challenge, presented yearly by Independence Blue Cross and Philadelphia magazine, celebrates someone who is truly making a difference in their community. Read about this year’s winner and finalists, and check out all the photos of the event by photographer Theresa Regan.

The Health Hero challenge launched months ago with a call for nominations. (There were over 400 nominations submitted by readers throughout the Philadelphia area!) Through careful assessment by an editorial team, 10 semifinalists were then selected to face-off. In the final round of voting, supporters advocated for the three finalists and their chosen nonprofit organizations. The ultimate winner was chosen out of the three via community voting — A.K.A. selected by all of you!

At the event last night to announce the winner, we  heard remarks from Koleen Cavanaugh, VP of Marketing from Independence Blue Cross, Eileen Adelsberger, the publisher of Philadelphia magazine, Tom McGrath, the Editor in Chief of Philadelphia, and Gina Tomaine, Be Well Philly Editor.

And, after all of the months of suspense, we were thrilled to finally announce the 2019 Be Well Philly Health Hero: Amanda Piccirilli-Hall for Ainsley’s Angels of America! She won $15,000 for her stellar charity. Ainsley’s Angels is a nonprofit that pairs able-bodied runners with those who wouldn’t be able to complete an endurance race without assistance.

The finalists didn’t walk way empty-handed, either! Caitlin Thompson, founder of the Philly chapter of Little Bellas, won $2,500 for her amazing charity. Her group, Little Bellas, is a mountain bike organization for girls ages seven to 16 whose goal is to help young women realize their potential through cycling.

And, Anne Wendel, clinical director and oncofertility coordinator at Main Line Fertility and founder of PreserveFertility.org, won $2,500 for hers, too —PreserveFertility.org is a nonprofit devoted to combating the costs of fertility preservation for cancer patients.

It was a heartwarming evening of community, health, and giving back. What better way to celebrate Giving Tuesday?

After all of the giant checks were distributed, we celebrated the rest of the evening. We dined on fresh, local cheeses and a vegetarian custom poké bowl station was a BIG hit. And, our awesome sponsors Miller 64 and Athletic Brewing Company provided delicious beverages.

We’re so thrilled for our Health Heroes, and we can’t wait to see how their nonprofit organizations continue to evolve in the Philly community. To learn more about them — and see some awesome videos on the work they’re doing — click here.

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