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The Independent Health & Buffalo Bills Health & Wellness Challenge inspires WNY to live healthier


The Independent Health and Buffalo Bills Health & Wellness Challenge continues to motivate Western New Yorkers to get active, eat right and take charge of their health. More than 15,700 individuals – including 2,665 new participants – registered for this fall's Health & Wellness Challenge, which ran from October 3 through November 13.

The Health & Wellness Challenge was created as a way to help motivate individuals to live healthier lives by offering them opportunities to win prizes. The first initiative kicked off in October 2014 and drew 2,300 participants. Since then, four more rounds of the Challenge have been held, with participation steadily increasing each round, bringing the total number of participants to 15,738.

"It's great to see that so many Western New Yorkers have embraced the Health and Wellness Challenge and are doing their part to improve their overall health and well-being," said Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president and CEO, Independent Health. "There are many health challenges that can be tackled by making simple lifestyle changes. In partnering with the Buffalo Bills, we've been able to make it easy, fun and rewarding for people to adopt healthy habits and help us lay the foundation for a healthier community."

More than 30 participants earn prizes

By taking the steps to improve their health and well-being, all Challenge competitors were eligible to win prizes by meeting daily goals and completing challenges for points. Five participants were selected at random each week to receive a prize, including autographed Bills memorabilia and gift cards for wearable activity trackers, workout apparel and sporting goods.  

In addition, Sandy Schildwaster of Batavia was chosen as the lucky winner of the grand prize – a V.I.P. Buffalo Bills Game Day Experience for the team's home contest against Cleveland on December 18 at New Era Field. The V.I.P. Game Day Experience included:

A game suite for Sandy and 11 guests (inclusive of food and beverage)

Visit to the suite by Bills alumnus Thurman Thomas during the game

Pregame on-field sideline passes

Postgame press conference attendance

Limo service to and from the game

A gift certificate to a local restaurant

Bills merchandise

"The Health & Wellness Challenge has now benefited more than 15,000 Western New Yorkers as it continues to inspire community members to live healthier lifestyles," said Bills Managing Partner and President Russ Brandon. "The Buffalo Bills organization would like to congratulate grand prize winner Sandy Schildwaster, and all of the men and women who achieved new health and wellness goals during this edition of the contest. Together with Independent Health, we are looking forward to the sixth edition of the Health & Wellness Challenge this coming spring as it gains further momentum throughout Western New York."

How the Health & Wellness Challenge worked

The number of points earned throughout the Health & Wellness Challenge determined the number of chances participants had in the prize drawings. Participants earned points by meeting three main daily goals:

20 minutes of physical activity

Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables

  1. Drink eight glasses of water

Participants could also complete one "extra points" challenge each day. As an added bonus, participants who referred their friends, family and co-workers received 10 extra points for each person who registered. They then kept track of their progress and learned about that day's "extra points" challenge by logging-in at

To be eligible to win a prize, participants had to be at least 18 years of age and a legal resident of New York State at the time of entry. In addition, both Independent Health members and non-members were eligible to participate.

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