On December 7, Independence Blue Cross joined Philadelphia magazine’s Be Well Philly to celebrate the 2021 Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge honorees. The all-virtual event recognized three finalists and awarded the top prize to the 2021 Health Hero Champion.
Independence Vice President of Marketing Koleen Cavanaugh shared her thoughts on what makes the award so special.
“Health heroes are people who raise a hand and take a step forward – all to make life better for other people. The accomplishments of this year’s nominees are remarkable. They truly personify the title of Health Hero,” she said.
This year marks the 10th annual Health Hero Challenge. The contest recognizes people from throughout our region who are working to make their communities healthier. Independence is the presenting sponsor of the award.
In her remarks, Cavanaugh added, “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to award this year’s Be Well Health Hero winner with $15,000 for their charity of choice. This year’s nominees have shown an extraordinary commitment to the people in our region, and this additional funding can help them do so much more.”
The editors at Be Well Philly received hundreds of nominations, which they narrowed down to 10 semi-finalists, then three finalists. In the final round of voting, the winner was chosen by the general public.
2021 Health Hero
Armenta Washington won the top honor of 2021 Be Well Health Hero. Washington is a senior research coordinator for the community outreach and engagement program at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center.
Washington and her team created a drive-through service to help at-risk community members access preventative care and determine if they need a colonoscopy referral. Her selected charity, Frontline Dads, Inc., will be awarded $15,000. Frontline Dads, Inc. empowers African American youth and young adults through mentoring programs for at-risk youth, parenting workshops, and re-entry training support.
Two other finalists received $2,500 donations to their charities:
- Tahirah Austin-Muhammad, co-founder and chief operations officer for Crescent Foundation, an organization focused on sickle cell. Crescent Foundation is also her charity of choice.
- Kristina Burke, founder of TAG Time Happy Hour, a fundraiser event series for lung cancer research. Her charity of choice is the Hospitality Assistance Response of Pennsylvania (HARP).