WellCommons honors individuals, LMH for contributions to community's health
- on February 6, 2012
About 50 people attended our WellCommons awards celebration and open house Friday at the News Center, 645 N.H.
Since its inception in April 2010, WellCommons, which is owned by The World Company, has become a trusted community health resource not only as a news site but as a social media site where anyone can share personal stories, post health-related events, participate in polls and discuss health-related issues through comments. In 2011, the site had 776,913 visits, 297,639 unique visitors and 1.2 million pageviews.
On Friday, we celebrated the community’s contributions to WellCommons, which was recognized with a national EPPY award from Editor & Publisher magazine for best community service website.
Five individuals and Lawrence Memorial Hospital was honored during the event for making significant contributions to WellCommons during the past year.
Here are the 2011 honorees:
• Marilyn Hull — Motivator
Marilyn Hull was one of the first Lawrence residents with whom we met with when WellCommons was just a concept, and that was because she was helping to launch a health initiative called LiveWell Lawrence. Since then, she has served on our community WellCommons advisory board which meets about quarterly and has been a great supporter of the website.
Marilyn received the award because she motivates people through kind and thoughtful words of encouragement either in person or through comments online. She’s also a team builder. Her profile description on WellCommons sums up why she was an honoree:
“I participate in WellCommons because I believe that social support is a huge part of making and sustaining healthy changes in our lives. We are all in this together, and we have to encourage each other as much as possible.”
• Cindy Hart — Bravery
A year ago, Cindy Hart contacted me and asked if I would look over a story that she had written about her father who had died from a heart attack when she was 23 years old. She was thinking about posting it on WellCommons but was a little afraid of what people might say or the comments that might come along with it.
Well, it was an exceptional story and it moved me to tears and I will never forget it. We are glad that Cindy shared her story to help raise awareness about heart disease and for continuing to use WellCommons to provide valuable information. Bravo!
• Carrie Mandigo — Next Generation
Carrie Mandigo has been instrumental in starting marathon running clubs at elementary schools throughout Lawrence. She’s co-chair of the Bobcat marathon club at Langston Hughes elementary school. What’s super special is that she posts pictures of the students who complete a marathon — or 26.2 miles — on WellCommons. We love seeing those kids’ smiling faces.
Here’s what she had to say on WellCommons about the club:
“What we want to do is to tap into the kids who maybe aren’t in organized sports. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and boosts their self-esteem. Kids that aren’t very athletic normally find that they can do this and they really enjoy doing it.”
So, we wanted to recognize Carrie for encouraging the next generation — the one that is most at risk for obesity — to move more.
• Megan Stuke — LOL
Not only does Megan Stuke write about food, but she writes about being a mom of a bouncing little boy named Johnny. She blogs about her experiences and doesn’t hold back. She’s talked about everything from spanking to attending church to sleep. One of my personal favorites was a blog called Working It Out. It was about how she, a friend and neighbor had decided to attended a workout class at the senior center. Another was about turning 38 — this one I can really relate to.
Here’s a bit from that blog:
It’s striking to me how different aging is for women than it is for men. Women have a biological clock — what almost feels like an expiration date. Men just age and age and get silver foxy and sexy. There is no impetus for them to worry about any particular birthday milestone more than another.
So that is how I’m going to start thinking about my own upcoming birthdays. I’m going to age like a man. I’m going to put the notions of more babies and menopause and hysterectomies and crows’ feet out of my head, and tell 38 hello like a man would — with a shrug.
We wanted to thank Megan for sharing her personal life experiences. They provide some “laugh out loud” moments and they do say: “laughter is the best medicine.”
• Linda Cottin — Most Popular
Linda Cottin uses WellCommons to help educate the community about the local food movement, a topic she’s passionate about. She helps with the school garden at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School and has a daughter who farms. She started a full-fledged farmers’ market last year in the parking lot of her hardware store and it was a smashing success. Her postings about what’s available at the market are always among the most-viewed stories on WellCommons. But, she doesn’t just post information about the market — she also writes about what it takes to grow food, and then how to cook it. Sometimes, she throws in a history lesson or two.
Linda’s stories have been a hit with the community and that’s why she received the Most Popular award. We certainly hope she continues to feed our demand!
• Lawrence Memorial Hospital — Sponsor Appreciation
Lawrence Memorial Hospital has been a huge supporter of the website since its founding. Not only does LMH help support the website financially, but a handful of LMH employees have served on the community WellCommons advisory board. LMH also has a group page on the site and uses it to educate the community about important health issues. LMH doctors and employees have taken time out of their schedules to answer readers’ questions about topics such as heart health, the Affordable Care Act and smoking cessation.
LMH earned the award for its contributions to the website and the community.