From humble beginnings in 2013, Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s wellness mascot, Wellby the Yavabear, has become a celebrity around the quad-city area.

“I try not to let it go to my head,” says Wellby, “My only focus is to encourage folks to pursue their personal wellness goals. But if it means that people have started to recognize me on hiking trails and at community events, well, that’s ok with me!”

In all seriousness, Wellby was the brainchild of a group of YRMC employees who wanted to put a friendly face on their mission to keep fellow employees healthy.

“Wellby started as an internal effort here at the hospital,” explains Brian DeVries, YRMC Human Resources Manager for Employee Benefits and Wellness, “But we soon realized that the success we were experiencing at YRMC would be beneficial to our community. The bottom line is that YRMC has a responsibility to keep our community healthy. Wise choices are a win-win for everyone, and this is a fun way to encourage those wise choices.”

Employees at YRMC often take Wellby along hiking, biking, to yoga classes, vacations and anywhere else that features an active, healthy lifestyle. So far, Wellby has traveled to Europe, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, visited Disneyland, and attended the Whiskey Row Marathon and Northern Arizona Suns basketball games, among many other appearances.

Click here to enjoy photos and descriptions of many of Wellby’s adventures on Wellby’s Facebook page. You’ll soon find that the main focus of the page is the promotion of health and wellness here in the quad cities. Features on local destinations, current events, recipes, tips and videos are sure to entertain, inform and keep you on track. Posts from the quad cities’ premier health blog, YRMC HealthConnect are also featured. Community members are encouraged to follow Wellby’s page and post their own wellness stories.

YRMC’s Wellby the Yavabear

YRMC’s Wellby the Yavabear

DeVries looks forward to Wellby’s fifth year as YRMC’s wellness mascot with excitement, “YRMC plans to roll out a new wellness platform for our employees this year. In addition, our Wellness Champions, who represent every department, continue to keep our culture of wellness alive and expanding. The beauty is, anyone, at any fitness level can get involved with Wellby’s mission.”

Wellby is also looking forward to a very successful year, “If I can continue to encourage, inspire and share valuable information about health and wellness, 2018 will be a great success,” he says, “And if people approach me for an autograph once in a while, I won’t mind that either!”