“Eating disorders are like a gun that’s formed by genetics, loaded by a culture and family ideals, and triggered by unbearable distress.” -Aimee Liu
“I am forever engaged in a silent battle in my head over whether or not to lift the fork to my mouth, and when I talk myself into doing so, I only taste shame.” -Jena Morrow
“A serious illness is like an earthquake, devastating at its epicenter with pain and suffering radiating outward to friends and family.”
NEDA Mission: NEDA supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care.
Location: Allentown, PA
Timing: Nope, just walking and enjoying nature
Course: A 1 mile walk through the park
Size: Small (about 50 or so)
Pre-Walk: My family is far from perfect, but I KNOW that when the chips are down we will always be there for each other. So yesterday we walked for my niece, Julie. I am so proud of her for reaching out and not remaining silent when she realized she needed help. I am proud of her for fighting the fight each day. I am proud of her for not giving up or giving in. I need her to know that when the road ahead seems dark or unsure that her family will always be there.
Walk Day: We arrived around 0930 for the 10am walk. The weather was threatening to rain out our walk, but it held out (mostly). We don’t usually get the NJ clan and the PA clan together in the same place so we took a ton of pictures. A special thanks to the Stephanie from CoveryBox.com for taking the picture of the whole gang.
Before we started the walk, we were able to hear some individual stories from others who have struggled with eating disorders. The stories were poignant, tragic, inspiring and triumphant. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the group. One thing that resonated with me was that this is an illness and it needs to be treated as such. If you have cancer, you go to a doctor for treatment. It isn’t a secret you need to hide from family and friends. The stigma associated with mental illness often prevents those who require treatment from getting the help they need. We must all work together to remove the shame and fear of having an eating disorder.
The Walk: The park itself is beautiful. We started at the Allentown Fish Hatchery or “Li’l-Le-Hi” Trout Nursery and meandered down a half mile to a funky red covered bridge. It was a nice relaxing walk and a great chance to see and catch up with the New Jersey Chamberlin clan. Everyone was very friendly and there was a real sense of community amongst the walkers.
Post Walk: After the walk we were quick to get to our cars. The weather was not treating us kindly and we all had over hour and half rides to NJ and Southern PA. It would have been nice to have had some better weather so we could talk to some of the other participants and hear their stories.
The Goodies: Stephanie, the founder of Coverybox had a booth setup by the registration table and her product is something I was looking for a few months back. CoveryBox is the very first gift box service designed to support, encourage, and inspire women struggling with mental illness and addiction while they are in treatment or the recovery process. A great gift anytime, and a way to remind someone that you are thinking of them during their recovery. Check it out.
The NEDA shirt. It is actually a magical shirt. Why is it magic? The shirt in the picture clearly grey, but in real life it is more like a teal blue. Maybe this isn’t the coolest magical power, but maybe I haven’t tested it fully. Want a magic shirt? Participate in a NEDA walk. They are all over the country and they are growing.
So far this walk has raised over 8K but they are still short of their 15K goal. If you are interested in making a donation, visit their website: https://nedawalk.org/lehighvalley2017
Need someone to talk to? Toll Free Number: 1-800-931-2237