NEDA walk to raise awareness of eating disorders

— “We want to change culture! That sounds impossible, but it can happen, one conversation at a time,” Wilson said. “We have collected hundreds of quotes from Café at 407 patrons about real beauty, and those quotes give me hope that change is happening.”

In order to effect that change, Ophelia’s Place is once again partnering with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) 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 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 Saturday, August 24, in conjunction with Ophelia’s Place, NEDA will hold its second annual Syracuse area walk at Longbranch Park in Liverpool. Registration begins at 9 a.m., with a special kick-off at 10 a.m. Live music, raffles, vendors and a food truck, along with special guest, Jenni Schaefer, author, speaker and eating disorder survivor, will be featured. Schaefer is author of “Life Without Ed,” “Goodbye Ed, Hello Me” and her latest release, “Almost Anorexic.” Schaefer will also be featured at a pre-walk coffeehouse talk at 7 p.m. Friday at the Café at 407, 407 Tulip St., Liverpool.

This local walk is one of more than 50 walks taking place throughout the year nationwide, C.J. Redfern, national walks director for NEDA, told the Star-Review last year. 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.

“NEDA walks serve as a catalyst to raise awareness in local communities about eating disorders,” Redfern said. “For far too long, people with eating disorders have felt alone. No one talked about these illnesses. These walks are bringing the illness into the light, and [it] makes it that much easier for family and friends to come forward to support their loved one or friend. [The money raised through these walks is] used to fund our programs that promote awareness and prevention, as well as advocate for policy changes and more funding for eating disorders research.”

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