The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) will be holding a walk benefiting victims of eating disorders on Saturday, Sept. 21, starting at Timpanogos High School in Orem. NEDA’s goal for the walk is to raise an additional $5,000 to bring their total raised to $10,000.
Rachel Steinberg, coordinator of the event, has high hopes for the walk.
“This is the first National Eating Disorder Association walk in the state of Utah,” Steinberg said. “This is a chance for the Wasatch Valley to come together. It’s a good way to raise awareness for prevention and treatment of eating disorders.”
For Steinberg, the issue of eating disorders hits close to home.
“My sister developed an eating disorder about two years ago ,and I wanted this walk to show her that I still support her even though I’m 1,000 miles away,” Steinberg said.
For many in the BYU community, eating disorders are a very real concern. In a recent study, it was found that up to 20 percent of young women and girls experience eating disorders in the United States, according to Dr. Michael E. Berrett, Ph.D. and co-founder of Center for Change.
“These illnesses are real and dangerous,” Berrett said. “Anorexia nervosa is the most deadly mental illness that there is.”
BYU offers services for men and women suffering from eating disorders in 1500 WSC. For individuals outside of the BYU community, LDS Family Services serves as a resource for struggling individuals.
Other resources include the Center for Change located at 1790 N. State St. in Orem.
“Center for Change is a hospital and treatment program that specializes in the treatment of eating disorders,” Berrett said. “We’ve been here for 17 years.”
The walk poses an opportunity for those in the community to get out and show their support for this cause. Whether they are sufferers or supporters, all are welcome.
“Everybody is welcome,” Madison Thorpe, volunteer and special education major, said. “We all worry about what we eat, some more than others, and in some way or another, that is an eating disorder.”
Steinberg sees the charity walk as a way for family and friends to join together as well.
“It’s also an opportunity for family and friends of those with eating disorders to get up off the sidelines we often feel stuck on and do something to show those we love that we do support them,” Steinberg said.
Students can visit the Orem Utah NEDA Walk Facebook page or www.nedawalk.org/orem2013 to sign up for the walk. The fee for students is $15.