Over 30 million Americans will suffer from some kind of eating disorder during their life. Eating disorders include binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, other specified feeding or eating disorders, and anorexia, which has the highest mortality rate of mental disorders.
The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) strives to erase the stigma and misunderstanding with eating disorders everywhere.
The mission statement for this nation-wide association explains that they want to “Support individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serve as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care.”
NEDA wants to increase awareness of eating disorders and how important it is to emphasize recovery, early prevention, and more access to treatment.
Currently, there are no treatment facilities for eating disorders in Central Oregon. To seek help, individuals need to travel to nearby facilities in Salem and Portland to get treatment.
Katie Noyed, NEDA Walk Coordinator, shared her experience with her eating disorder.
“I had an eating disorder for four years, she said. “When I was a freshman, I had treatment spring term, and there aren’t any treatment centers in Central Oregon. That is what inspired me to do this walk.”
Noyed is a volunteer for the non-profit as well as a full time student at COCC and OSU-Cascades. Noyed wants to raise awareness and bring treatment centers from surrounding areas so that students and people in Central Oregon know that there are options.
The official walk began after an opening ceremony talk from Noyed and Ally Galloway, former COCC instructor and owner of Body Rock Training and Fitness Center.
Galloway’s fitness center specializes in small group training, nutrition coaching, and personal training. After her first attempt at recovering from her eating disorder over ten years ago, Galloway started thinking about what she wanted Body Rock to become.
Galloway explained the main emphasis of Body Rock: “ I wanted to build a space that was focused on strength and health, and not so much a look. I wanted to build a community that was centered around a healthy lifestyle. We need to start realizing that being and feeling healthy is not a look, it is and has to be a lifestyle. ”
Bend’s NEDA walk was a time for celebrating recovery and all of the facilities that are made to help people with eating disorders. The need to eliminate stigma and spread awareness about eating disorders is important to NEDA and people like Noyed who helped motivate people to walk.
Of the fundraiser’s $5,000 goal, almost $3,000 dollars was raised at the event. The money raised will help fund many different programs, outreaches, scholarships for treatment, and research for eating disorders.
One of NEDA’s National Sponsors is American Eagle’s brand Aerie and several employees from Bend’s local store walked as a team on Saturday.
“[Aerie] do[es] a lot of outreach and they try to approach the subject in a welcoming manner and also have clothing that represents them too,” Noyed said about the Aerie brand.
Another sponsor for NEDA is Bridgeway, a rehabilitation center that provides addiction recovery, primary medical care, and mental health therapy.
Jenna Moller, community resource specialist for Bridgeway, explained how this facility functions: “It’s the idea that someone can get all of their needs met under one roof. With addiction and mental health, there is so much stigma around it. It’s really great to be able to get all of those resources met in one place.”
For more information about Bend’s NEDA walk, go to nedawalk.org/bend2017 or nedawalk.org.
By Katya Agatucci | The Broadside