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2015 Pride Health Challenge launches: Meet the contestants

pride prīd/

noun: A feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired

verb: To be especially proud of a particular quality or skill

The inaugural 2015 Pride Health Challenge is about transformation; helping six members of our community achieve their personal goals to lead a healthier lifestyle and improve their lives. Personal achievement of a difficult or challenging goal is one of the most satisfying elements of a life well lived. The lucky Pride Six are about to embark on a journey that will transform not only their bodies, but how they think about and relate to food, as well as how they incorporate movement to achieve the healthy lifestyle they desire.

San Diego LGBT Weekly, in conjunction with Metabolic Direct, developed the Pride Health Challenge to motivate community members to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Whether it is weight loss, increased activity, or simply achieving a better understanding of how food and the body relate, the Pride Health Challenge contestants will be proud of their results. So how does it work?

For the next 60 days the Pride Six will be changing their lifestyle. No pre-packaged foods, no unrealistic exercise goals, no weight loss gimmicks, just simple lifestyle changes, motivational coaching and nutritional supplements, to help the Pride Six achieve their health goals. It’s that simple.

The Pride Six will be assigned a coach to help them achieve their specific goals. Anyone who has played sports, or been mentored at a job, knows the importance of having someone who is in your corner to help you achieve a desired result. Vincent Ferrucci, a Metabolic success story himself, will be providing one-on-one motivational coaching to the Pride Six. Through a phone consultation or Skype session supplemented with texts, Vincent will be the good fairy in their ear; a person that can help identify those issues that may be hindering a contestant in achieving their health goals. Other coaches will also check in with the Pride Six during their journey.

The Pride Six will also get a meal plan designed by registered dieticians, herbal support to aid in controlling appetite, boosting their metabolism and burning fat, as well as nutritional supplements including protein bars and shakes. All provided by Metabolic Direct.

The Pride Six are all motivated to make a transformation in their health by San Diego Pride. The contestants represent the diversity of our community; male, female, transgender, younger and older. What is striking is that the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle transcends all groups. We hope that you will relate to one of the Pride Six. As you watch their transformation, we hope you will be motivated to make lifestyle changes or tweaks in your health program. Be your best this Pride!

July 9, the winner of the Pride Health Challenge will be awarded a prize package worth $1,750 plus bragging rights for the next year. So let’s meet our Pride Six:


Marcel Hetu

Marcel Hetu

Marcel is a study in contradictions, a successful PhD at the University of California San Diego and a DJ for events like the Bill Hardt Zoo Party.

“I want to participate in the 2015 Pride Health Challenge to show my friends, family and community a fresh and healthy Marcel. I will be defending my dissertation on May 1, starting a new job, and want a fresh start to focus on my health.”


Sharell Gooding

Sharell Gooding

Sharell works with young children but playing with them has not helped her maintain a healthy weight. She has tried all of the diet fads; limiting carbs, sugars, sodium and fat intake, but nothing has worked.

“I want to make my mother and my girlfriend proud of me. Most of all, I want to make myself proud. I want to feel healthy, strong, confident, and not hide in my skin anymore.”


Kurt Cunningham

Kurt Cunningham

Kurt has been a fixture in the San Diego LGBT community for decades. While Kurt has had his share of physical and mental health challenges, he is ready for a new healthy lifestyle to go with his new positive outlook.

“I have a new career, a car, life is great, except I am the heaviest I have ever been, I breathe heavy going up stairs, my clothes don’t fit. It’s time to take control of one final thing in my life; my weight.”


A.T. Furuya

A.T. Furuya

A.T. is a transgender-genderqueer student, who is on a tight budget and eats unhealthy food on the go due to his busy schedule.

“It has been difficult trying to balance the changes with my increased appetite and energy on testosterone. Going to gyms can create anxiety for trans folks because of discrimination and bigotry, so trying to be healthy is a real struggle. I hope to inspire other trans folks to live a healthier life.”


Jenny Perillo

Jenny Perillo

Jenny is an Indiana transplant who recently moved to San Diego this January. She is on a mission to be the best version of herself and feel great in her own skin.

“I have come so far already and now I want to see how far I can go! I left my family, job and friends to move to California and change my life. I will succeed and I will inspire!”


Ildifonso Carillo

Ildifonso Carrillo

Ildifonso has been struggling with his weight since he was a young boy and was teased because of his size.

“I grew up being teased with the song “The Fat Boys Are Back”. Here I am 40 years later still struggling with self-image and obesity issues. I am ready to make a change.”

Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=59714

Posted by on Apr 30, 2015. Filed under Entertainment News, Feature Story, Section 4A, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

4 Comments for “2015 Pride Health Challenge launches: Meet the contestants”

  1. Im so thrilled that I was selected, Im already on my program and feeling really good!
    Thank you!

  2. Congratulations and good luck to all, but especially to @KurtCunningham!

  3. I like to join I want get in shape

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