The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) walk in New York City has a great deal of significance for Someday Melissa. Judy first shared Melissa’s story in 2009 and since then we have continued to promote and educate others about our film and mission at the walk. This year’s walk was my second as a member of the Someday Melissa team and it is so gratifying to see how we are growing and increasing the reach of our awareness each year.
Although the sky was overcast and a chill was in the air, the bright blue NEDA walk shirts cheered up the atmosphere in Foley Square. Balloons, signs and songs floated around as the crowds began filling the area of Lower Manhattan with excitement. Soon the walkers were gathered to the stage in the middle of the square and the mood was rising. Model Emme spoke on her challenges working in an industry that is not usually welcoming to diversity in representations of bodies and shapes. Soon, a voice rang through the air and the walkers began their journey across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Of all the special moments of the walk, the ones that held the greatest significance for me were the ones that happened at our booth. People who had seen our film at a local screening and were thrilled to purchase a copy to share with others. Parents relieved to have a chance to speak with Judy and share their frustrations and fears regarding their child’s disorder. Therapists who were excited about our new Guided Discussions for Recovery so they can incorporate the film into their practice.
Most of all, hearing stories of loss, recovery and hope throughout the walk will stay with me forever. Faces on buttons, names of loved ones on shirts, messages of recovery and hope on signs. Some were walking for loved ones still in treatment, some were in recovery and walking to inspire others. Others were walking in memory of those whose lives were cut short by the disease of eating disorders. Every story that was shared contributed to the goal of breaking the silence about eating disorders and educating others. We may not be able to defeat eating disorders in one day, but on Sunday we were winning the fight.