There are thousands of Patient Leaders working day in and day out to educate, raise awareness and support their patient community. The WEGO Health Awards give us the chance to recognize Patient Leaders across all condition areas and platforms, to ultimately find the top Patient Leaders in each space.
To recognize the Patient Leaders community members endorsed, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Patient Leaders in each category.
WEGO Health Awards Best in Show: Facebook Award – These Top 10 Best in Show: Facebook Patient Leaders foster communities through a Facebook page or group where people want to “Like” and interact. Their content is engaging and sparks likes, comments, and shares. They may have other social media sites, but he or she really utilizes all the tools Facebook has to offer and shows how it can be used for good! For anyone hoping to step up their Facebook game, these are the leaders to watch!
Fibromyalgia Patient Leader
“As an advocate chronicling my daily struggles with Fibromyalgia (FM), my goal is to promote Fibromyalgia Awareness, Education and Support online to unite the FM Community on Facebook. For many years my annual Fibromyalgia Awareness Campaign “POP and PUT ON PURPLE to Promote Fibromyalgia Awareness” has shed light on this Central Nervous System disorder, promote understanding, connect fellow Fibro Fighters from over 30 countries and validate Fibromyalgia as a tangible, medically defined Invisible Illness. I’ve recently established the “FOURTH FRIDAY FIBRO DAY” which is a Facebook Fibromyalgia Awareness event on the 4th Friday of each month. Kristal at The Fibromyalgia Pain Chronicles.” Connect with the 2018 WEGO Health Awards Best in Show: Facebook winner, Kristal.
Weight Loss Patient Leader
My name is Sal Paradiso, and I reside in Tampa, FL. I started my weight loss odyssey in Jan 2014 at a weight I didn’t know. Several months into my weight loss odyssey I had gone to the hospital for a procedure and was able to obtain a weight of 688 pounds. To date, I’ve lost 477 pounds. I was also recently featured on Season 3 of Skin Tight on TLC Channel. I’m currently maintaining my weight loss and I’m fighting every day to make continued progress. I talk openly about my weight loss to give those who are struggling hope, that they can turn it around and get their life back. I am living, breathing, proof of that. Learn more about Sal’s journey.
Multiple Sclerosis Patient Leader
After my mother went in remission for multiple myeloma, Carlos founded the project “Combat Cancer”. The goal is to engage and strengthen patients, families and the general population with knowledge about cancer: prevention, early diagnosis, access to treatment and public policies. The Facebook page has more than 2 million followers and is the main means of reaching the public. Learn more about Combat Cancer.
Bipolar Hot Mess
Mental Health Patient Leader
Bipolar II, chronic pain, and eating disorders are my main focus. I first tried blogging in 2011 with Ask A Bipolar and IBPF and loved it. Both also published me in their books. AaB’s format is strictly Q&A and I wanted to write more about MY life with mental illness in a way that would help others feel less alone in their daily life. So, in 2012, I tried my luck blogging as the Bipolar Hot Mess. I’ve interviewed Julie Fast and Marya Horbacher. I also guest post on sites like Stigma Fighters, SIoS, Psych Central (also a Mental Health Hero 2013), and did an interview for David Susman, PhD. Julie Fast also interviewed me as well. The success of the blog means so much because I help so many.
Kristin Selby Gonzalez
Autism Patient Leader
“My son was diagnosed with Autism in 2004 when he was 2 years old. I was told he would never talk, never look & would be in a group home by the time he was 8 years old. I just couldn’t accept that would be his fate so, I began researching all I could to learn how other parents were helping their children. I began to implement diet, supplements and a wide range of therapies into my son’s life and little by little he began looking & talking. He still has a ways to go even at 15 however, the fate he was given is far from the life he has. I began helping others through my work at the non-profit the Autism Hope Alliance because of him. To date, we have helped over 49,000 families with Hope & Help.” Learn more about Kristin and her nonprofit work.
Mental Health & Invisible Illness Resources
We advocate for all mental illnesses and invisible illnesses/disabilities – Aiming to unite all in this fight. We are volunteers that suffer from many different invisible illnesses, and through our personal experience and from reputable sources, we help other people. We also raise awareness, educate, and let others know they are not alone. Learn more about Mental Health & Invisible Illness Resources.
MS Patient Leader
Ashley is a 30-year old, living right outside of Austin, TX. She was diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis in August 2010 at the age of 22. She has always loved to write, and after she was diagnosed she started writing her feelings and emotions online. She didn’t know that just by sharing her thoughts and personal feelings that so many others would be able to relate. While MS is a very difficult disease to live with, Ashley tries to live the best life that she can no matter the circumstances. You will often find that her writing is full of sarcasm intended to make you laugh or just brutally honest and to the point, to get the point across without any doubts. Connect with Ashley.
Melanie K. Naude
IBD Patient Leader
“Hi everyone my name is Melanie and I live just outside of Durban, in South Africa. I am the creator and founder of IBD Warriors Support and Awareness – which is a closed Facebook group that I created to give support to people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. When I was growing up I often felt isolated and alone with nowhere to turn to for support and nobody to ask for advice with regards to Inflammatory Bowel Disease. In 2005 I began helping out as a moderator on IBD forums then I became an admin in IBD groups and eventually I created my own group about two years ago. My motto is that nobody should ever face this illness alone. We are all in it together. ” Follow Melanie.
Lupus Patient Leader
“Being a Lupus Warrior for 16 years, I work tirelessly to educate, inspire, encourage, empower, support and advocate for lupus warriors worldwide. I am the Founder of Lupus In Color Online and Local Support Group. Lupus In Color was created to cater to the needs of men,women, and children of all colors of the rainbow battling or indirectly affected with Lupus. The Lupus In Color goal is to provide education and support as well as an outlet when your emotions have gotten the best of you. My motto is: “I Have Lupus, Lupus Does NOT Have Me!” This motto gives me the strength to move on. It removes the stronghold that this invisible disease can have on me and encourages me to fight daily.” Take a moment to learn more about Racquel.
Breast Cancer Patient Leader
“Diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer at 43 in 2013, I quickly realized there was little funding going to the breast cancer that kills. Over time I grew my Twitter network & began working with others to bring awareness to MBC. I took my Twitter account to Facebook and also started a blog which was chosen by Healthline.com one of The Best Metastatic Breast Cancer Blogs in 2015. I’m also a fierce advocate for Medical Aid In Dying in New York State where I reside. In addition to my personal advocacy, I’m also C0-Founder, Editor & Publisher of The Underbelly, a Breast Cancer Magazine, along with 2 of my closest friends.” Connect with Susan.
Feeling inspired? Take a moment to like and follow these Patient Leaders’ Facebook pages.
Looking for more motivation to spice up your advocacy game? Check out the WEGO Health Awards Top 10 Lifetime Achievement Patient Leaders for the ultimate role models.