The first group of honorees are the board of directors of Defeat the Stigma Project, Julio Salazar, Steve Connelly and Kevin Chem; and Andrea Zuellig.
Julio, Steve and Kevin were chosen since they have been vocal advocates in the community at large as well as within the running community. The have quickly gathered a large following and have shared their stories and created an environment for others to share theirs. One of these environments is the Defeat the Stigma Podcasts. In these podcasts they speak with professional runners, runners and folks in our community who struggle with mental health, spouses and significant others of those who struggle with mental health, mental health professionals among others. One of those mental health professionals in Andrea Zuellig.Andrea's
area of expertise is eating disorders, something that is prevalent in the running community. She works at the Melrose Center where she is a "part of a team that guides patients and their families through the complex process of healing psychologically and physically." Through the Melrose Center, she and Defeat the Stigma hosted a panel discussion regarding eating disorders in April of 2016.