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.