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Top 10 | Best in Show: Community

The 2019 WEGO Health Awards turned out to be our biggest celebration yet! With over 6k nominations and 130k endorsements, we were able to celebrate more Patient Leaders than ever before.

The program celebrates the top 5 finalists in each of the 15 WEGO Health Awards categories, but with so many nominations, it’s nearly impossible to shine a bright light on all these deserving nominees! In hopes of recognizing even more nominees, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Patient Leaders in each category based on community endorsements.

WEGO Health Awards Best in Show: Community Award

As a patient, becoming part of an online health community can be life-changing. The Best in Show: Community category recognizes the hard work of the Patient Leaders who create and manage these dynamic communities. These Patient Leaders have mastered the art of creating an inviting space for newcomers while keeping a safe space that people respect, rely on, and recommend to friends and family. Through active community management, engagement, and moderation, they’ve fostered an environment of healing, support, and hope!


Fight Like A Warrior | Chronic Illness Community

2019 Best in Show: Community Award Winner

Fight Like A Warrior was founded in 2016 by, then college freshman, Alexa Chronister in an effort to make an even bigger impact from our Cards For Warriors Program. Today, Fight Like A Warrior is a community of over 15,000 warriors battling life-changing health conditions. Our organization is run by a team of volunteers who generously give their time and abilities to the programs that support our warriors. Our team is made up of individuals of all ages and backgrounds, but most of our volunteers are battling chronic health conditions themselves, are studying for a career in medicine or are medical professionals, and/or are caregivers for loved ones.

Learn more about the WEGO Health Award winner by clicking here.


Styna Lane | Chronic Illness Patient Leader

2019 Best in Show: Community Finalist

Styna is a chronically ill content creator with a strong and unique voice. She’s used that voice to foster an active and engaged community, helping others feel less alone as they deal with the challenges of the chronically ill life.

Find out how to follow Styna.


IBD Warriors Support and Awareness (Melanie Kiezer Naude) | IBD Patient Leader

2019 Best in Show: Community Finalist

“My name is Melanie. I live in a small coastal town, just outside of Durban in Kwazulu Natal South Africa. I have had symptoms of Crohn’s Disease since I was 7 years old and it took until I was a teenager until I got a diagnosis. When I was diagnosed it was an incredibly scary and lonely time for me. There was no social media. Once social media started I became an admin on Facebook support groups for IBD and opened IBD Warriors Support and Awareness. The purpose of the group is that no newly diagnosed IBD patient will feel alone. If you or someone you love has IBD please don’t hesitate to reach out.”

Get to know this inspiring warrior! 


Kristal Kent | Fibromyalgia Patient Leader

2019 Best in Show: Community Finalist

“Suffering with Fibromyalgia myself, I am a Fibromyalgia Advocate, Educator and Awareness Coordinator on behalf of the Fibromyalgia Community. I help the FM Community better understand their illness, help individuals understand the process of applying for disability benefits, support people with advocating for their medical needs and communicate on their own behalf along with promote Fibromyalgia Awareness. If through my advocacy efforts, I can make 1 person with Fibromyalgia feel less alone and validated, then it gives my pain purpose! If through my advocacy efforts, I can make 1 person with Fibromyalgia feel less alone and validated, then it gives my pain purpose!”

Add this community builder to your feeds. 


Stephen Estrada | Colorectal Cancer Patient Leader

2019 Best in Show: Community Finalist

“As young boy I can remember thinking Community was just the place you lived and the people around you. It was a hallow word for me. Who at the age of 8 truly understood what a Community can actually mean to someone? And I certainly didn’t think that online communities would become a huge part of my adult life. But then I was diagnosed with cancer. Inoperable stage 4 colorectal cancer at the age of 28. At the time, I didn’t realize I needed a Community…I just needed someone to listen. I couldn’t find others like me…young and actively dying from what was once considered an “old man’s disease.” So I did what any 28 year old would do: I picked up my phone and logged onto Facebook. Building and managing online communities, creating connections, and cultivating support for our patients is a passion of mine, Thank you for allowing me to share.”

Learn more about Stephen’s mission and follow him on social.


Fibromyalgia Care Society of America (Mildred Velez) | Fibromyalgia Patient leader

Mildred Velez is the founder and president of the Fibromyalgia Care Society of America, Inc. (FCSA). The mission of the Fibromyalgia Care Society of America (FCSA) is to provide education, care and supportive services to individuals living with fibromyalgia, their families and the community at large. FCSA will also work to educate medical providers on the appropriate diagnostic, care and treatment of those living with this condition.

Find out more about Mildred and her community.


Zipper Sisters: Women with CHD (Lena Morsch) | Congenital Heart Disease Patient Leader

“In 2012, I saw a great need for women with CHD to have a private, safe place to talk about their issues and concerns. Many women with CHD were frustrated or intimidated about opening up due to unsolicited advice or judgement. It’s extremely difficult to talk about self-image issues, child-bearing, birth control, relationships, and finding the right care in “mixed company”. In 2012, I created a sisterhood of women with CHD. I based my idea of a “sisterhood” on my college sorority days. I started with a few of my close friends with CHD, and we now have over 2000 members from all over the world! We are growing every day! We screen each member before they join, to keep the group safe and genuine. I’m very proud of our accomplishments! We help our members find the right care in adulthood, we listen to them during health crisis, we inspired them to seek the most out of life, and most importantly, they know they are not alone!”

Add Lena to your feed.


AME – Amigos Mltiplos pela Esclerose | Multiple Sclerosis Patient Leader

AME strives to make life better for people with MS in Brazil through community, support, education, awareness, and influencing public policy. The size and passion of the AME community speaks for itself. 

Take your feeds international by following this inspiring group.


Christina Doherty | Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Patient Leader

“I consider myself a person first, a patient second, and an advocate third. When I was first diagnosed I was disappointed with the lack of a positive and informative community for patients who were LIVING with this condition (and its co-morbidities). It was the first time I had ever truly felt alone. So I took it upon myself to try to create that safe space for support and conversation where people could ask questions and not fear the answers they might get.”

Interested in learning more about Christina? Click here.


The TIREDGIRL Society (Abby Atkinson) | Chronic Illness Patient Leader

“We celebrate the small wins, the cup of tea you made today, the pain you fought through to make it and the overwhelming strength this community has!”

Learn more about the mission and impact of this inspiring group!


Online health communities are thriving and these 10 are great examples of why. Follow them today!

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