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Independence and Be Well Philly honor local health heroes

By December 12, 2022February 20th, 2023Community Events & Sponsorships Featured Health & Well-being

Pictured left to right: Andrea Vettori (Finalist, Sanctuary Farm), Laura Brzyski (Be Well Philly Editor), Katie Bruno (Philadelphia magazine Publisher), Robin Cohen (Health Hero Winner, Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation), Koleen Cavanaugh (Independence VP), Elissa Darrow (Finalist, Angels Community Outreach) Photo credit: Theresa Regan

Independence Blue Cross (Independence) joined Philadelphia Magazine’s Be Well Philly to celebrate the 2022 Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge finalists and winner. Presented by Independence, the contest recognizes people from throughout the Philadelphia region who are working to make their communities healthier.

Independence Vice President of Marketing Koleen Cavanaugh shared her thoughts during the December 5 event at the Penn Museum:

“We are moved by their fearlessness, their generosity of spirit, and the creative ways they’re helping to enhance the health and well-being of our community. They really are what the Health Hero Challenge is all about, and they embody our mission at Independence.”

The editors at Be Well Philly received more than 300 nominations, which they narrowed down to 10 semi-finalists. The community was asked to vote for their Health Hero. Their votes helped narrow the list to three finalists and ultimately one Health Hero champion.

2022 Health Hero

Robin Cohen won the top honor of 2022 Be Well Health Hero. Robin is the co-founder and CEO of the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation. Cohen supports women and families who are navigating and/or living with the realities of an ovarian cancer diagnosis. The organization has worked to increase public awareness, research, and funding for the disease.

Two other finalists received $2,500 donations to their charities:

  • Elissa Darrow, director of Angels Community Outreach, an organization that offers no-cost outreach services — including a food and toiletry bank, pet food pantry, prom dress and toy drives, and more — for those financially in need. Darrow has grown the organization and continued its mission since her then-12-year-old daughter Katelyn founded it in 2009.
  • Andrea Vettori, a nurse practitioner and founder and executive director of Sanctuary Farm, an urban farm whose mission is to improve the health outcomes of people living in North Philadelphia. Since its creation in 2017, Sanctuary Farm has “planted, grown, and harvested over 17,300 pounds of fresh produce.”