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Philadelphia Magazine Names the 10 Semifinalists in the Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge

PHILADELPHIA, PA (September 2018)(CNBNewsnet)Philadelphia magazine is back for their seventh consecutive year of seeking Philadelphia’s most passionate health and fitness advocates. The search is on for those dedicated to making their communities happier and healthier for the 2018 Be Well Philly Health Hero award presented by Independence Blue Cross.

The Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge was created to help identify and celebrate local champions dedicated to making a difference and creating a healthier city. The ongoing goal is to recognize those who are truly helping other make strides for healthier lives.

After weeks of receiving hundreds of spectacular nominations from all over the tristate area, Philadelphia magazine is thrilled to announce the 10 semifinalists carefully selected by its editorial team.

The 2018 Be Well Philly Health Hero Semifinalists are:
  • Nick Basalyga is the founder of In The Saddle, whose mission is to build a fellowship of recovering individuals through cycling, community service, and group support.

  • Danna Bodenheimer is the founder of Walnut Psychotherapy Center, a group of therapists dedicated to the effective use of long-term psychotherapy.

  • Jared Cannon is the founder of Simply Good Jars, a meal subscription service with a goal of zero packaging waste and zero food waste.

  • Alanna Gardner is a therapist at Philadelphia MFT, a fitness trainer, and an American Heart Association spokesperson.

  • Evan Harden is the founder of National Bar League, an organization that hosts freestyle calisthenics competitions, open to competitors around the world to demonstrate their skills.

  • Cheryl Hardy is a program volunteer at Hank Gathers Recreation Center.

  • Todd Irwin is the Board of Directors President and a volunteer pilot at Angel Flight East, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the community by facilitating free air transportation for children and adults with medical conditions who need to get to treatment far from home.

  • Radhika Kakarla is the founder of Hatch, a community of medical experts, wellness resources, and exquisitely-curated content that are all easily accessible under the Hatch umbrella to ensure the best outcomes for mother and baby.

  • Susan Shifrin is the founder of ARTZ Philadelphia, which provide opportunities for self-expression and for the rebuilding of self-esteem and dignity to people with dementia and those who care for them.

  • Marian Uhlman is the founder of Healthy NewsWorks, which empowers elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, critical thinkers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.

The voting period for the 10 semifinalists begins September 4, 2018. During this period, Philadelphia magazine readers are able to vote once every 24 hours to narrow the 10 semifinalists down to the final three finalists and ultimately, the winner will be named the 2018 Health Hero with Independence Blue Cross and Philadelphia magazine donating $10,000 to the charity of his or her choice. This year, two runner-ups will also receive a $2,500 donation each for a charity of their choosing. The winner will be announced and honored at an amazing event in November, where all finalists will be joined by their advocates in an inspirational celebration.

A Health Hero can take on many different roles – he or she may be a friend, teacher, coach, trainer, mentor, or even non profit founder. Last year, the 2017 Health Hero was Darren Sudman, co-founder of Simon’s Heart and Got AED. Sudman is an advocate for measures to prevent sudden cardiac arrest and death in young athletes and children. Sudman started his foundation after the death of his own son, Simon. Got AED is a Simon’s Heart project, whose goal is to place automated external defibrillators (AED) in places where children play and learn. The $10,000 donation from presenting sponsor Independence Blue Cross and Philadelphia magazine was used to help put these life-saving preventative measures in place.

Be sure to keep up with the challenge and vote for your favorite potential Health Hero each week at For more information regarding this campaign and other Be Well Philly events, you can visit their website, Facebook, or Twitter. Stay in touch with @bewellphilly and @phillymagevents, and follow the challenge using #BWPHealthHero.

For media inquiries, please email

Philadelphia magazine’s Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge is presented by Independence Blue Cross.