Monthly Archives: October 2016

Madison Rocked The Walk!

Whoot!  The 2016 Madison NEDA Walk is in the books, and it’s another record breaker!  We had roughly 250 walkers– and raised over $23,000 –Thanks to all who contributed and/or walked!   (Donations are still being accepted through 11/9 at Madison Walk site). A local TV news was there, and aired a brief segment about the walk:  NBC 15 clip.

An important part of the event is the registration timeframe–there is a flurry of activity while people check-in and receive their T-shirts and totes.  (After last year’s shortages — I’m happy to report that we had plenty this year!)  Walkers had a chance to visit with sponsors, read through available educational material,  get a snack, talk with others, enter into the prize drawing, listen to the live music, etc.

Our first, and featured, speaker was Jonathan Tsipis, the UW women’s basketball coach:  He gave a great short talk about the impact of eating disorders on young people–especially athletes, and the negative messaging about their bodies that constantly bombard young women.   He was warm and engaging – both on stage and off.  (Maybe I’ll start watching basketball?)

We had two speakers who spoke of their family’s loss.  The speeches were incredibly moving — I admire them so much for having the courage to speak of their loss with a message of hope and recovery to others.

The top team raised $8,000–an amount that puts them on the leader board nationally as well; sadly, that team was driven by the loss of a much beloved family member in August.   I truly hope her family found some small comfort by honoring her memory at the walk.

A representative from NEDA, Lauren Smolner, had flown from New York to be with us;  she led us in a poignant moment of stillness and silence to remember those that have lost their battle.

The day had started cold and crispy – but the sun made a much-appreciated appearance by walk time.  The walk is a 1 mile stroll around around Vilas Park–an incredibly beautiful venue;  you can see pictures on the Walk FB page.  The walk is symbolic and reflective- versus being any sort of race.  (I later learned that one participant showed up in race gear, expecting this to be some sort of 5K event – too funny!)

Upon the walkers return to the park, we held a drawing to award the many prizes that were donated by  local businesses; many walkers received restaurant gift certificates, spa certificates, etc.

An enormous thank you to: the walk sponsors, in-kind donors, committee members, volunteers, family members, speakers and the WALKERS who helped make this year’s NEDA walk both a meaningful experience and a successful fund raiser.

Together — we did something special.

Neda Conference Day 2: Another great breakfast

(written after Day 2 of last week’s NEDA Conference)

The breakfasts at the NEDA conference have been amazingly awesome.  Yesterday was Monica Seles, and today I ate with a group of NEDA Walk coordinators from around the country; from Seattle to Philadelphia and many points in between.

I picked up lots of pointers for next year, and met some wonderfully dedicated women. It was therapeutic to compare notes about some of the challenges associated with putting on the walks.

The very best part of the NEDA conference is the stories of the people here, including:

A young woman whose partner had a terrifying relapse — she struggled to understand and to successfully advocate for her through multiple hospitalizations; A dad whose young son is being treated for severe anorexia and is routinely met with disbelief that a boy can be afflicted; a middle-aged man who spoke of his decades-long struggle that went un-diagnosed for most of his life; The young woman who cannot find treatment in her state; the dad who intellectually understands, but cannot emotionally get his head around why his daughter won’t eat; the young woman who clawed her way to recovery against difficult odds.

Then there is the woman whose story paralleled my own in treating her anorexic teen daughter.  She shared some post-recovery insights from her daughter that rang true with me:

  • “Thank you for loving me enough to let me hate you”  (during refeeding). 
  • “Recovery is hard. Choosing recovery is even harder; parents may need to choose recovery for you, until you can choose it for yourself”. 

So – right now I’m inspired and worn out and wondering what on earth I’m going to do for breakfast tomorrow!

Stroll down Michigan Avenue

Tonight, I ventured into the big-city sensory  overload that is Michigan Avenue.  It was stunning and bewildering. I was struck by the density and diversity of the crowd representing  all colors, sizes, ages and heard many languages being spoken.  The majority of the crowd was well dressed in an upscale urban fashion; in contrast to my sketchers, capris and blue wind-breaker.  I realized that I am something of a hick in the big city … so be it.

I recognized the songs of a street trumpeter: ‘A Whole New World’ and the more subtle melody of ‘The first time I ever saw your face’:  his repertoire going from Disney to Robert Flack in the wink of an eye.  We chatted a bit, and I learned some music trivia, including the fact (?) that Herb Albert wrote the theme song for the Dating Game.  He was right when he said I was aging myself by recognizing his songs:  So be it.

I quickly gave away all the $1 bills I had to the street musicians and to the homeless panhandlers that were on every corner: Some of whom were completely and anonymously bowed under their obligatory cardboard sign; others were chatting with passerbys with their children (or grandchildren?) on the sidewalk.  I realize that I am a soft touch – so be it.

The traffic created a constant cacophony underlying the entire experience.   I ducked into a couple stores and made a few modest purchases — including the best hamburger I’ve had in years from a fast food place called M Burgers.

It was a ‘just right’ taste of a truly big city.  A great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live here.  I am a small(er) town gal at heart – so be it.