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Top 10 | Patient Leader Hero

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 Patient Leader Hero Award

These are a particularly special group of Patient Leaders. Their dedication is igniting change and their impact is indisputable. They embody the spirit of a healthcare influencer and continue to go above and beyond for their communities. These Patient Leaders are truly the heroes of the online health community.


Asa Maass | Autism Patient Leader

2019 Patient Leader Hero Winner

“I’m a dad, husband, video creator, and autism advocate. I started my YouTube channel FatheringAutism almost 3 years ago. My intention was to spread awareness and acceptance while making the world a softer place to land for my nonverbal autistic daughter Abbie. Looking around the internet I found so many amazing mothers advocating for their children but not many dads sharing their story. I decided to make it a point to break the stigma that parenting responsibilities in a special needs family falls mainly on the mom. It didn’t take long to realize the videos we made as a family really helped others.”

Follow this inspiring WEGO Health Awards winner today.


Priscilla Maass | Autism Patient Leader

2019 Patient Leader Hero Finalist

“What started with a small YouTube channel has grown into a social media presence that helps hundreds of thousands of people around the world. I am personally able to form bonds with fellow autism moms and give experience and advice on navigating through things like puberty, meltdowns, bad days, and good ones. I stress the importance of not allowing a bad moment to define your day or a diagnosis to define your life. I help other moms to realize the importance of taking time for themselves and how that makes you a better caregiver.”

Click here if you want to add Priscilla’s positive voice to your feeds.


Kristal Kent | Fibromyalgia Patient Leader

2019 Patient Leader Hero Finalist

“If through my advocacy efforts, I can make 1 person with Fibromyalgia feel less alone and validated, then it gives my pain purpose!”

Learn more about Krista and follow her on social. 


Cassidy Megan | Epilepsy Patient Leader

2019 Patient Leader Hero Finalist

Cassidy Megan created the idea of Purple Day in 2008, motivated by her own struggles with epilepsy. Cassidy’s goal is to get people talking about epilepsy in an effort to dispel myths and inform those with seizures that they are not alone. The Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia came on board in 2008 to help develop Cassidy’s idea which is now known as the Purple Day for epilepsy campaign.

Follow Cassidy on social and let her advocacy educate and inspire you. 


Lara Bloom | Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Patient Leader

2019 Patient Leader Hero Finalist

Lara Bloom is the international Executive Director of the Ehlers-Danlos Society and responsible for globally raising awareness of rare and invisible diseases, specialising in the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, hypermobility spectrum disorders (HSD) and related disorders.

Want to learn more about Lara’s advocacy? Click here.


Kristin Anthony | Cancer Patient Leader

“I entered the healthcare world when I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer in 2009. At that time, I was also experiencing breast health issues and my Mom had been diagnosed with her first breast cancer. I felt that something was not right, and started to research and ask questions though I was cautioned against doing that. I happened upon a rare genetic syndrome called Cowden Syndrome which results from a mutation of the PTEN Gene. I met many of the criteria and still had difficulty getting someone to listen. As it turns out, I was right and I do have a PTEN mutation. When I was diagnosed in 2011, there was little to no information or support available. I chose to change that and our foundation was born. Today, we have grown five fold plus since inception and awareness has improved greatly.”

Stay updated as Kristin continues to make a difference by following her.


Melissa Adams VanHouten | Gastroparesis Patient Leader

“After being diagnosed with gastroparesis in February of 2014, I became a passionate advocate for those in my community who feel voiceless and ignored. Currently, as the Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders (AGMD) Patient Education and Advocacy Specialist, co-author of the book, “Real Life Diaries: Living with Gastroparesis,” and creator and administrator of several online patient support and advocacy groups, including “Gastroparesis: Fighting for Change,” I spend my days advancing the cause of those who struggle with the sometimes devastating and life-altering effects of gastroparesis and other chronic illnesses. It is my fondest desire to empower others to advocate for awareness, better treatments, and, ultimately, cures.”

Melissa is fired up about advocacy. Follow her on social. 


Caleigh Haber-Takayama | Cystic Fibrosis Patient Leader

“Experiencing the struggles of end-stage lung disease and fighting to breathe every day gave me a new perspective on what is most meaningful in life.” Through Fight2Breathe, she aspires to increase awareness on chronic illness, genetic disease, and organ transplantation, identify and support innovative research, and amplify and focus the community to support those in the fight.

Add Caleigh to your feeds.


Rafaela Estrougo | Epilepsy Patient Leader

“Hi! I’m Rafaela, from Brazil living in LA. Was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 1 year old. Discovered my path is to help and support, but specially spread the word out there. Join the epilepsy community and raise awareness to end stigma.”

Check out the important advocacy work Rafaela is doing. 


April Stearns | Breast Cancer Patient Leader

“Four years after my diagnosis, I launched WILDFIRE Magazine as a way to create community through personal storytelling as it pertains to young women diagnosed with breast cancer. I had no magazine publishing experience but as a writer and editor, I felt called to create a roadmap of sorts, a beautiful resource for others that also served as a break from the noise of the Internet and the medical pamphlets on breast cancer. I felt a strong need to help others heal through the reading and writing of stories.”

Learn more about April and WILDFIRE and follow on social.


Want to be a hero to your community? Following these Patient Leader superstars will give you the inspiration you need.

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