On October 4th 2015, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) held its annual walk in New York City. Although there was a scare that Hurricane Joaquin would spell doom for the walk, the weather held out and spirits were high throughout the event. NEDA leadership arrived to show their support, straight off the red-eye flight from their national conference in San Diego.
The walk started in Foley square, where sponsor tables were set up and participants gathered to hear the guest speaker and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. The emcee for the event was Iskra Lawrence, a 24 year old English model who is “too curvy” for typical modeling and “too small” for plus sized work, who has partnered with NEDA in a number of ways. She works to promote diversity in the fashion industry as well as encourage healthy body image. The keynote speaker was Jenn Friedman, a singer, songwriter, and author of Eating Disorders on the Wire: Music and Metaphor as a Pathway to Recovery. She generously shared her own story or fighting for recovery and reminded everyone that recovery, while not easy, is possible.
Our team, from the Columbia and Weill Cornell Centers for Eating Disorders, was excited to again sponsor and take part in this event. We walk to raise awareness about eating disorders and the need for more research about these conditions and their treatment. We walk to support recovery, and the individuals who are striving to achieve it. We were joined by other researchers, clinicians, and individuals with eating disorders as well as their critical support network of friends, families, classmates, and recovered peers. Teams made t-shirts, banners, and even brought along their dogs with matching collar adornments!
NEDA began in 2009, and has since raised over 3 million dollars. This year was the most impressive yet for New York’s NEDA walk. There were over 16 sponsors, twice as many as last year, and over $128,000 dollars raised to date. The final amount has yet to be calculated, as donations are credited to the walk throughout the month of October. Money raised goes towards raising awareness for the approximately 30 million Americans (women and men) who will suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetime, helping to fund means of early intervention, and improving access to treatment for those in need.
Looking for a walk near you? Walks are nationwide and are scheduled to take place soon in Baton Rouge, Cleveland, El Paso, Baltimore, Tulsa, Virginia Beach, Hartford, Louisville, Williamsburg, Asheville, Houston, West Chester, Greensboro, San Diego, Fort Worth, Raleigh, Cincinnati, Birmingham, Chicago, Denver, Madison, Albany, Mt. Pleasant, and Portland.
For additional ideas of ways to get involved in your community, with your local politicians, or on your school campus, see these related posts: