2015 In Review: The Year’s "Jersey-est" Your HHRS News Awards


So it’s that time of year again: to wish you a great holiday season and to thank you for your support — especially for our 200% increase in viewership! It’s also time to renew our pledge to continue to bring you the best in New Jersey health, medical, nutrition and fitness news, and remind you that you can contribute by clicking the blue box in the sidebar. And now let’s pay tribute to the people who made 2015 the “Jersey-est”!

MAN OF THE YEAR: Willem Wuebben is a 10-year-old with Moebius Syndrome, a genetic condition characterized by facial paralysis, speech difficulties and crossed eyes. A straight-A fourth grader, Willem was guest of honor at Nutley New Jersey’s city hall, where Mayor Alphonse Petracco led the praise of his “fantastic accomplishments.” They include helping Many Faces Of Moebius Syndrome founder Tim Smith build a global online community with MoebiusSyndrome.info and personal story Web sites and a Facebook page.

WOMAN OF THE YEAR: As a child, Lori Sweeney was caught in a perfect storm of obesity and bullying, suffering both at school and at home: “When you’re called a loser every day, you have low self-esteem.” She finally got the nerve to respond to a heckler, and much to her surprise, her classmates applauded! She went on to turn her “‘A-ha’ moment” into Goodbye Fatness, Hello Gorgeous!, a book about how to lose weight and gain self-confidence. Now based in Hillsborough, Sweeney is a tutor and motivational speaker.

MOST WELCOME TREND: A host of new New Jersey medical facilities began construction this year —  a community health center in Vineland, a complex featuring urgent care in Jackson, a medical school at the old Huffman-LaRoche facility in Clifton, a rehab facility in Hammonton, and a cancer center in Neptune. Meanwhile, additional offices were opened by Morgan Fertility and Reproductive Medicine in Ocean and Old Bridge, Joslin Diabetes in Old Bridge, and Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation in Wall Township.

LEAST WELCOME TREND: A rash of infections. Two musicians are being treated for cancer caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV); professional celebrity Khloe Kardashian got a staph infection from either her gym or the hospital while visiting her husband; and a Kentucky woman found out that keeping a hair band around your wrist can result in an abscess and surgery. Closer to home, a MRSA infection has most likely ended the career of New York Giants football player Daniel Fells, who was facing amputation of his foot. Fortunately, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has plenty of info on how to fight back.

HONORARY JERSEY GIRL HONORS: When award-winning songwriter and singer Cyndi Lauper decided to come out about having the autoimmune skin condition psoriasis, she did so with her trademark perfect balance of style and substance. While she mourns no longer being able to indulge her fashion sense, it doesn’t stop her from reaching out to the nation’s 7.5 million psoriasis patients through the National Psoriasis Foundation I’m PsO Ready online initiative. “It’s so easy to feel isolated,” she says. “Raising awareness and educating others is critical…(W)e don’t have to settle for life the way it is.”

DIS-HONORABLE MENTION: Why did hedge fund entrepreneur turned Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli raise the price of an AIDS drug to $750 per pill? Because he could, thanks to the industry’s monopolistic setup and loose regulations. But Shrkeli’s reign of greed was short and sweet, thanks to the invisible hand of the marketplace and the long arm of the law. Imprimis Pharmaceuticals will make a generic version of the drug that will cost only one dollar per pill; and due to being arrested for securities fraud, Shkreli has been ousted from Turing and another pharmaceutical company of which he was CEO!

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