Linda Fondren selected as one of 10 national finalists for CNN’s ‘Hero of the Year’

JANS – Linda Fondren, a resident of Vicksburg, Mississippi who founded and is head of the Shape Up Vicksburg campaign to transform the city and state from the “fattest” to the “fittest” in the nation, has been selected by a Blue Ribbon Panel as one of 10 finalists for the CNN Hero of the Year Award.
Fondren, whose Shape Up Vicksburg campaign has already resulted in a collective weight loss of more than 15,000 pounds among participants over the past year, was chosen from more than 10,000 nominations submitted by viewers in 100 countries.
Each finalist receives a $25,000 award for his or her efforts.  In addition, each of this year’s top 10 CNN Heroes will be honored at “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” airing from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Thanksgiving night, November 25.  The global broadcast, with CNN’s Anderson Cooper as the host, will culminate with the announcement of the CNN Hero of the Year, selected by the public in an online poll.
Mississippians are urged to vote for Fondren for this honor.
Voters can go to to participate in the poll, and vote as often as they would like from now through November 18 at 6 a.m. ET. The individual receiving the most votes will receive an additional $100,000.00.
Linda Fondren will use this money to continue her efforts to help transform Mississippi from the fattest state to the fittest. “I feel like someone is paying attention and I am deeply grateful, and extremely honored to be a CNN Hero of the Year Top Ten honoree,” Fondren said.  “When I started Shape Up Vicksburg, I was just looking to bring about meaningful change from the fact that Mississippi has been voted the “fattest” state in the country for six consecutive years.”
To this end, Fondren developed Shape Up Vicksburg into a multifaceted non-profit movement that includes free fitness and exercise classes at her Shape Up Sisters fitness center and at local community centers.  There are also health screenings organized by River Region Health System, monthly community-wide walk-runs, nutrition workshops, healthy grocery shopping classes, and programs for both teachers and parents to serve as role models in providing healthy lifestyles for children.
For more information and to enroll, visit  or call 601-619-7277.