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First-ever NEDA walk coming to Onondaga Lake Park

The National Eating Disorders Association will host its first Syracuse-area walk on Sunday, Aug. 26 in cooperation with Ophelia’s Place.

The National Eating Disorders Association will host its first Syracuse-area walk on Sunday, Aug. 26 in cooperation with Ophelia’s Place.

— “Part of our mission is about changing the conversation around beauty and health, challenging society’s narrow definition of those terms, and looking at how that drive for perfection leads to the negative attitudes and behaviors that often develop into eating disorders,” Wilson-Dougherty said. “I often see people channeling their dislike of themselves into a dislike of their physical bodies. We often believe that by changing our bodies, we can change how we feel about ourselves. How sad that we spend countless hours worrying about a number on a scale or the size of our clothing, when we can be connected to the larger community in a way that gives our lives meaning and purpose. We want to change culture! That sounds impossible, but it can happen, one conversation at a time. We have collected hundreds of quotes from café patrons about real beauty, and those quotes give me hope that change is happening.”

In order to effect that change, Ophelia’s Place is partnering with the National Eating Disorders Association as a network member so that the smaller organization can better spread its message.

“NEDA is the conduit, so to speak, for all of us to connect,” Wilson-Dougherty said. “Why reinvent the wheel? If another agency has a good idea that fits in our community, we share it and so many more can benefit.”

Next Sunday, in conjunction with Ophelia’s Place, NEDA will hold its first-ever Syracuse area walk at Willow Bay at Onondaga Lake Park. The walk begins at 1 p.m. (check-in is at 12:30) and goes until 3 p.m.

The local walk is one of 32 taking place over the next year nationwide, according to C.J. Redfern, national walks director for NEDA. The walks, which started in 2009, are critical because they not only raise money for NEDA as well as Ophelia’s Place, but they raise awareness of their joint mission.

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