NEDA walk to raise awareness of eating disorders

— Wilson said it was essential to educate the community about eating disorders because so many people remain ignorant about the damage they can cause.

“After 10 years of working in this field, I am still surprised by the amount of education that is still needed around eating disorders,” she said. “As our walk committee members contacted community partners, they found people who still either do not know about eating disorders or who do not believe they are a serious health risk. So, walks like this help educate the public, but they also give individuals and families a way to come together in community and honor the struggle, to feel supported, and to feel hope.”

Working together with NEDA’s team, Wilson and group of very committed volunteers pulled together this weekend’s event. At press time, teams and individuals participating in the walk had raised more than $9,000. The money raised will be split between the two organizations, with 60 percent going directly to Ophelia’s Place and 40 percent going back to NEDA to support its programming nationwide.

The hope is that walks like this one at Longbranch Park and across the country and the awareness campaigns that they spark will create that culture change Wilson mentioned.

“I want people to know that they can make a difference,” Redfern said. “Although eating disorders can be life threatening, they are treatable, especially when we steer people to help early. By registering for a NEDA walk, you are joining thousands of other people and organizations around the country in support of our mission. Everybody knows somebody who has struggled with body image issues or an eating disorder. If we stand together, and walk together, we can bring help to those struggling and their loved ones, as well as begin a movement to change the way beauty is perceived and revolutionize what is considered a healthy body image.”

If you would like to participate or make a donation towards this year’s walk, email Wilson at director@opheliasplace.org for more information.

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