Feature photo: Lauren Kennedy West, the 2022 grand prize recipient of the Alberta Blue Cross® Faces of Wellness program.

In 2021, Alberta Blue Cross® launched the Faces of Wellness program to celebrate Albertans who are champions of wellness in their communities. Each year, the program recognizes those making positive lifestyle changes toward becoming healthier, promoting a health-related cause, making the most of life while living with a chronic condition, advocating for wellness in their workplace, standing up for mental health or acting as a role model for others. For the third annual Faces of Wellness program, Alberta Blue Cross is once again looking for inspiring individuals to showcase and reward.

Individuals like Lauren Kennedy West, the grand prize recipient of the 2022 Faces of Wellness program. Lauren embodies living well with schizophrenia not only through her personal wellness but also by sharing her experiences with the world. Through her YouTube channel, “Living Well with Schizophrenia,” Lauren provides a safe space for people who would have otherwise felt alone in their experiences with schizophrenia. As a mental health advocate and a pillar of support in the community, Lauren is a face of wellness.

In 2022, the Faces of Wellness campaign received more than 360 applications and nominations from Albertans across the province by the closing date in November. These applications included a recreational therapist who teaches Indigenous-informed yoga and works to remove barriers for those in need; a firefighter who volunteers with his dog to provide support for those in retirement homes, hospitals and schools; and an ovarian cancer survivor who uses training and community groups to stay well and raised money for the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope.

There are many inspiring honourees of the 2022 Faces of Wellness program, including Michael Bicknell who fought depression and addiction throughout his life. After various traumatic events while struggling with drug and alcohol usage, Michael’s turning point was the birth of his son. Now he’s a volunteer mental health ambassador.

Michael Bicknell is a 2022 Faces of Wellness finalist.

“I chose life and I want to help others choose life every day. Helping my community with their mental health struggles has become a huge part of my life. Most people just want someone to listen to.”

Michael Bicknell, 2022 Faces of Wellness finalist

You can apply or nominate someone you know to be recognized as a face of wellness for a chance to win amazing wellness-themed prizes, including the grand prize of a weekend away in the Alberta Rockies. The deadline to apply for Faces of Wellness is October 1, 2023, and award recipients will be announced in December.

To enter and learn more, visit facesofwellness.ca.

Alberta Blue Cross Face of Wellness