Top 10 | Lifetime Achievement

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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 Lifetime Achievement Award

Each year we come across Patient Leaders who continue to rock the health world. These Patient leaders are true stars who continue to shine and don’t fit into just one category. Let’s face it, they’ve done it ALL!

These Top 10 Lifetime Achievement Patient Leaders are the ultimate #PatientLeader role models:


Tom Kindlon | Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Patient Leader

2019 Lifetime Achievement winner

“After being diagnosed for over a year, I realised there was a good chance I was going to be stuck being quite ill & disabled for a long period, possibly indefinitely, a prospect that wasn’t appealing. Moreover, I realised that there wasn’t a huge effort to research the illness well; it wasn’t on the radar the way many other conditions were. I have been busy for the last 23 years working away as a (voluntary) ME activist.”

Follow the WEGO Health Awards winner on social!


Kristal Kent | Fibromyalgia Patient Leader

2019 Lifetime Achievement Finalist

“I spent many years navigating the healthcare system to get an appropriate diagnosis, find knowledgeable treatment specialists, sift through misinformation about my medical condition and overcome the stigma of Fibromyalgia being a “fake disease” or it being “All In My Head.” My experiences led to frustration, and years of time wasted, With countless emergency room and hospital trips and very few treatment options. From my personal experiences I decided I could do one of two things: Wallow In Pity or Use My Experiences to be a Positive Agent of Change for the Fibromyalgia Community!”

Learn more about this positive Patient Leader and follow her social


Sharon Coyle-Saeed | IBD Patient Leader

2019 Lifetime Achievement Finalist

“Sometimes we go through things and think why? Why is this happening to me? If we think less on the where we will end up and focus on the journey, we may be open to the life lessons in the adversity.”

Find out about Sharon’s thoughtful journey by clicking here.


Cathy Chester | Multiple Sclerosis Patient Leader

2019 Lifetime Achievement Finalist

“I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when I was 27 in 1986. There were no approved medications or internet. I was scared and angry. My doctor said go home, rest and wait for another flare to call him some steroids. Then and there I decided my life’s goal was helping others with MS feel less alone, and empower, educate, and inspire them to live a positive life. My mission to help others is my passion. When followers say I’ve made a difference in their life I am on cloud nine!”

Add Cathy to your feeds and be inspired by her passionate advocacy.


Jenni Grover | Chronic Illness Patient Leader

2019 Lifetime Achievement Finalist

“I was 25 when my world was turned upside down by fibromyalgia, anxiety, asthma, and a handful of other chronic conditions. Since 2005, I’ve used my experience to build an online community for women with chronic illness who want to feel empowered despite serious illness—and taught thousands of women how to take charge of their lives through my website, videos, and speeches around the world.”

Keep up with Jenni’s advocacy efforts.


Colleen Beener | Gastroparesis Patient Leader

“Going from having a vibrant career to being too ill to work was very difficult. By helping to develop awareness and advocacy programs for other patients, I was able to channel my professional skills into something useful.”

Learn more about the important advocacy work Colleen is doing.


Lisa Deck | Stroke & Moyamoya Disease Patient Leader

Lisa is a seasoned advocate, motivational speaker and Co-Founder of Sisters@Heart Foundation. a nonprofit whose mission is to improve the lives of those affected by heart disease and stroke. For years, Lisa has engaged as an advocate, lobbyist and volunteer with the American Heart Association and has served as a Go Red for Women National Spokesperson. With her first being 20 years ago, Lisa has survived four strokes and was finally correctly diagnosed with Moyamoya Disease after her last stroke four years ago. Lisa underwent double brain surgery to treat her rare disease far from home to restore her health. Today, Lisa speaks all over the country as a motivational survivor, patient advocate and stroke and heart health ambassador with hundreds of media engagements under her belt. She is also involved as a rare disease advocate with the Moyamoya Foundation & Rare New England.

Want to be updated on Lisa and her advocacy? Add her to your feeds!


Greta Stifel | Rare Disease Patient Leader

“I am using my personal medical experience as a catalyst for positive change and outcomes. My compassion for my fellow human to not let what happened to me ever happen anyone is one of my purposes and mission. I suffer horribly and it did not have to be this way. I am doing all that I can as quickly as I can in the most strategic ways so as to make a difference and bringing forth critical mass awareness of this cancer and educating physicians, medical community at large and the public at large in this process.”

Click here to see how to follow Greta.


Kneeshe Parkinson | HIV Patient Leader

Kneeshe Parkinson is a motivational speaker, Certified Life Coach, Trainer, Facilitator, Activist, and Founder of KneesheSpeaksSTL~2018. She is an active member of the Positive Women’s Network USA-Missouri State Lead. As an active member, she was invited by Dr. Laura Cheever Deputy Associate Administrator and the Chief Medical Officer of the HIV/AIDS Bureau at Health Resources and Services Administration “Catalyzing Success: Advancing Innovation, Leverage Data, Ending the HIV Epidemic” for people fighting against the disease of HIV. In addition, she attended a luncheon hosted by the Mind, Body, and Spirit with Saint Louis County Health Department for National HIV/AIDS Aging & Awareness Day. Kneeshe was selected to receive the HIV 50 + Scholarship to attend the United States Conference on AIDS 2018 in Orlando, Florida along with being a part of the Host Committee.

Stay updated on Kneeshe’s advocacy by adding her to your feeds.


Alicia C. Staley | Cancer Patient Leader

For more than 20 years, Alicia has been passionately making a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of patient’s around the globe. Drawing from her experiences as a patient in hospitals, clinics, and cancer centers Alicia has coupled her extensive background in engineering and technology and developed a reputation as a patient advocate that can bring innovative solutions to complex problems.

Check out the advocacy work Alicia is doing and follow her.  


These Patient Leaders have accomplished a lot as advocates and show no signs of slowing down. Don’t forget to follow them!

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