Our Faces of Wellness program recognizes people across Alberta who inspire wellness. From sharing personal stories to bettering their community, they make a difference. After receiving more than 220 applications and nominations, we’re proud to announce our 2023 faces of wellness.
Ufuoma Muwhen is our 2023 Faces of Wellness grand prize recipient. Ufuoma lived with sickle cell disease for 18 years. Cured after a bone marrow transplant, she wanted to advocate for others.
Ufuoma created NotJustYou, a nonprofit sickle cell support organization. NotJustYou is a platform to connect, share experiences and access support. Thanks to her work, Ufuoma received an all-expense-paid weekend in Banff.
“It’s important to recognize and celebrate the joy and fulfillment I find in life’s simple pleasures, promoting a balanced and positive outlook,” says Ufuoma.
Along with our grand prize winner, we have 10 finalists. These faces of wellness promote health-related causes, make the most of life while living with a chronic condition, advocate for wellness in their workplaces, stand up for mental health or act as a role model. Each finalist received wellness-themed prizes.
Who are our finalists?
In 2011, Evan James Mudryk suffered a massive brain hemorrhage that led to a stroke. After 11 months of therapy, he regained his ability to walk. Now he educates others about strokes through his YouTube channel, Stroke How To, and his work as a guest lecturer.
“Happiness is everywhere but sometimes just in little bits of progress,” says Evan.
Michelle Williscroft noticed her rural community in Fox Creek struggled with inactive lifestyles. To combat this, she encouraged people to go outside. Michelle started Fox Creek Nordic and Trail Club, a nonprofit group that promotes and creates multi-use trails. She helped raise $1 million to build trails and a bike park.
“In addition to the physical gains seen, the mental and emotional gain from being outside in nature is one of the greatest mental health assets,” says Michelle.
After 10 years as a sheriff with the Alberta Government, Wayne Scouten hit a turning point. He faced a traumatic work incident involving graphic violence against women. Wayne realized his experiences with trauma were impacting his daily life. Now he shares his journey with colleagues and sits on the wellness board he helped create to improve mental health resources for those in law enforcement.
“I believe that many of our members suffer in silence, and I hope my advocacy changes stigma within law enforcement,” says Wayne.
Dr. Kimberly Kluthe is an acupuncturist and manual osteopathic therapist who lives with endometriosis and Hashimoto’s disease. She promotes positive lifestyle changes and advocates for women’s health. Her guidance, compassion and hope help others navigate chronic illness and infertility while living a fulfilling life.
“It is my unwavering belief that everyone deserves the chance to experience the joy of parenthood, and I am committed to making that a reality for as many people as possible,” says Kimberly.
In 2021, Enessa Habib started YEG Honeycomb, a project that brings bees to historic areas in Edmonton. YEG Honeycomb works with residents at Alberta Hospital Edmonton’s Facility for Mental Health and Addiction and the Grierson Centre to help patients successfully transition out of the facilities and into the community.
“The journey has been healing for me and others as we care for and tend to the bees in a gentle way,” says Enessa. “This creature is more vulnerable and fragile than us. It allows us to reflect inward and look at what we need to do to take care of ourselves and where we fit within nature.”
In 2007, Cyndie McOuat was diagnosed with breast cancer. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, Cyndie fell into depression. While volunteering for Run for the Cure, she found a sistership booth recruiting breast cancer survivors for their dragon boat team. She joined the team in 2009 and still beams with pride when they win a race.
“The friends I’ve made and the experiences I’ve had—like the feeling of a medal being put around my neck after finishing in the top spot in a race—has brought me a lot of joy, the joy I thought I had lost during my journey,” says Cyndie.