Popular fast casual Asian stir-fry chain to award winner $10,000 on May 12
Friends who haven’t seen Gary Silverman of Alexandria, Va., in the last couple of months may not recognize him today.
Gary lost 86 pounds – nearly 30% of his body weight – while competing in Genghis Grill’s 5th Annual Health Kwest, a nationwide campaign that challenges competitors to adopt a healthier, more active lifestyle.
America’s premier fast casual Asian stir-fry chain will present Gary with a $10,000 check as its grand prize winner on Tuesday, May 12, at the Genghis Grill in Alexandria, located at 7001 Manchester Blvd. A total of 65 “Khantestants” from across the country lost more than 1,100 pounds collectively in this year’s contest, which began Feb. 9 and ran through April 10. Each Khantestant enjoyed a healthy meal at Genghis Grill every day for 60 days, for free. The goal was to lose weight, get fit and share the experience with friends.
In addition to the weight loss, Gary dropped his total cholesterol from 242 to 109, reduced his triglycerides from 166 to 92, his LDL from 177 to 52 and his body mass index from 41 to 29. His waist size shrank from a 44 to a 32. In addition to eating healthier, Gary ran 8-10 miles per day.
Gary was inspired to get fit after nearly losing his daughter Elyssa to a rare form of cancer called retinoblastoma.
“After my wife and I went through the struggles of saving Elyssa’s life, I was determined to save my own so I could be around for many years to enjoy and take care of my family,” said Gary, 51. “Retinoblastoma affects upwards of 350 kids a year in the U.S., and over 6,200 kids per year worldwide. Early detection is key. Had the cancer been properly diagnosed two months earlier, my daughter wouldn’t have lost an eye. Had it been detected only one week later, she most likely would not have survived. If I’m able to take advantage of this national platform to encourage all parents to get their newborns’ eyes examined by a retina specialist, I’m convinced that my Genghis Grill experience will ultimately save lives. Ironically, my story still ties into the Health Kwest theme, but it could have a much greater positive impact than anything we could imagine.”
As part of the Health Kwest campaign, Genghis Grill provides each Khantestant with exercise and nutrition tips, along with suggestions for building healthy stir-fry meals using the wide variety of fresh, nutritious ingredients available at every restaurant. Dozens of recipes are available online at GenghisGrill.com/HealthKwest.
Competitors also agree to complete a series of social media tasks throughout the contest – ranging from Facebook check-ins and Instagram photos to YouTube videos – each of which is worth a certain point value.
This year’s Khantestants generated a total of 770 tweets, 480 Instagram posts, 260 YouTube videos and 585 blog posts.
The Grand Prize winner is chosen based on his or her percentage of weight lost and social media points earned. This year’s second-place winner, who was selected based on the same criteria but only over the second half of the competition, is Joseph Smith of Albuquerque. He received a check for $1,500.
“Dozens of Khantestants have just experienced the benefits of eating healthy and delicious meals at Genghis Grill and by engaging in a more active lifestyle, and they’ll benefit from it for the rest of their lives if they keep it up,” said Ron Parikh, Chief Marketing Officer at Genghis Grill. “We’ve all been touched by Gary’s personal story and how he is using his daughter’s experience to shine a light on the importance of retina screening for newborns. We’re happy to give him this platform to help get the word out.”
Genghis Grill, the premier build-your-own stir-fry chain in the United States, is well known for its fresh, hot and healthy food, and for its style of fun service. Fans head over to the Fresh Market Bar where they are greeted with an array of more than 80 delicious, fresh ingredients from which they can build their own bowl. They then hand their bowl to our grill masters who cook their creation to perfection on a large, sizzling, circular grill. Currently, there are about 90 locations in 22 states nationwide. For more information about Genghis Grill, visit GenghisGrill.com.