Top 10 CNN Hero 2010 Shape Up Vicksburg
Linda Fondren initiated Shape Up Vicksburg in October 2009 to help residents of Vicksburg, MS lose weight after Mississippi was deemed the “fattest state” in the nation for the 6th consecutive year. Her vision is to end the obesity epidemic and help citizens transform their lives by becoming fit and healthy. Shape Up Vicksburg is a non-profit organization that provides tools and resources to members of the community who want to change their lives but lack the financial means to do so.
Linda, whose Shape Up Vicksburg campaign has already resulted in a collective weight loss of more than 15,000 pounds among participants, was chosen for a Top Ten CNN Hero of the Year Award for 2010. She was also selected, together with such distinguished world leaders as First Lady Michelle Obama, as one of The Grio’s 100 History Makers in the Making for her fight against obesity. She was named 2011 Woman of the Year for the City of Vicksburg. Her efforts have also caught the eye of both local and national press, from the Vicksburg Post to the Huffington Post, CNN Anderson Cooper, ABC, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, Essence Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Mississippi Magazine, Woman’s World Magazine, Shape Magazine, and the Tom Joyner Show, among others. She is an in-demand public speaker whose inspirational words continue to thrill schools, churches, and civic groups.
Linda is also a certified personal trainer at her gym Shape Up Sisters, which she opened in July 2006. Shape Up Sisters was created to help women who are too embarrassed to go to a traditional coed gym, have low self-esteem, and need a comfortable place to work out. The goal of Shape Up Sisters is to inspire and support women in their commitment to enhancing the quality of their life.
Linda is 57 years old, a native of Vicksburg and resides there with her husband of 28 years. They are active in real estate development.