Lehigh Valley NEDA Walk 2017

“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.”

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NEDA Mission:  NEDA supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care.

The Basics:

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.

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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.

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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

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Links:

https://coverybox.com/

https://nedawalk.org/

Need someone to talk to? Toll Free Number: 1-800-931-2237

#NEDAWALK

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MS Walk Annapolis 2014

I got involved with the MS Walk Annapolis through GGB Elite Cheer, Dance and Poms. They are the AMAZING local cheer organization and part of the Greater Glen Burnie Junior Sports League. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. We were looking for a charity event to cheer for, and this honor fell into our laps.

Who are they? Walk MS connects people living with MS and those who care about them. It is an experience unlike any other – a day to come together, to celebrate the progress we’ve made and to show the power of our connections.

What do they do? When you participate in Walk MS, the funds you raise give hope to the more than 6,000 people living with MS in our community. The dollars raised support life-changing programs and cutting-edge research. Every connection counts.

What Is MS?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.

 

Start of the 2014 MS Walk

Start of the 2014 MS Walk

It was a beautiful day for a walk.  We arrived around 0930 and they ushered us to the starting line.  On the way we got to visit all of the supporter’s booths and get a bunch of freebies.  There were water bottles, bags, pens, and enough tchotchkes to fill Santa’s sack.  Most importantly, there was also a ton of information on MS. I learned more about MS in a 15 minute stroll through the vendors than I had learned in my entire life. There were amazing stories of struggle and resolve to be heard if you spent a minute to listen.

GGB Elite Cheer Dance and Poms

GGB Elite Cheer Dance and Poms

Our girls cheered as the walkers left the stadium and cheered them on as they returned.  You can’t help but smile when someone is cheering for you, and we got a lot of smiles and high fives as the walkers entered the stadium.

Ms Maryland and Ms Teen Maryland giving our girls the "thumbs up"

Ms Maryland and Ms Teen Maryland giving our girls the “thumbs up”

After the walk, they had plenty of delicious food donated by local community businesses, such as Trader Joe’s, Panera and Applebee’s. Brewster’s Ice Cream was also on hand with samples (they also had a walking team aptly named the Banana Splits). An awesome show of support from the local community.  Bravo!

Trader Joe's Supporting the Walk

Trader Joe’s Supporting the Walk

 

 

 

 

A big hit with all the kids was the face painting by Neverland.  I have seen them at a couple of events and they are great at what they do.  It isn’t easy to paint a hundred faces and meet the lofty expectations of an 8-year-old, but they seem to pull it off.

What kid doesn't like face painting?

What kid doesn’t like face painting?

This is an awesome event.  It is exciting to see the community come together over an event like this.  It was also a great chance for our girls to give back to the community. I was very proud of our girls (as always). It was the first time I had done any volunteering for a walk or a run and it was wonderful to watch the smiles as people finished the walk.  At the finish there were people embracing, tears, high-fives, cheering and a lot of fist pumping.  I encourage you to get out and volunteer for an event like this.  It is just a few hours of your time, but would mean so much to so many.

For more information visit:

National MS Society: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/

Maryland Walk MS: http://walkmdm.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?fr_id=22498&pg=entry

Shout Outs:

Greater Glen Burnie Junior Sports League: http://www.ggbjsl.com/

GGB Elite Cheer, Dance and Poms: http://www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=ggbelite

Neverland face Painting and Theme Parties: http://www.neverlandparty.com/
“Welcome to Neverland” is their Facebook page.

Brewster’s Ice Cream: http://www.brusters.com/

Trader Joe’s: http://www.traderjoes.com/