Melissa’s Story Continues to Change Lives
Posted October 31, 2011

Several days ago I stumbled on a blog posting I wrote over a year ago, in September, 2010, for our first, very short-lived blog. I’d actually forgotten about that blog as we focused on completing Someday Melissa. I would like to share part of that entry:

“Yesterday I received an email from a therapist at a mid-western college counseling center asking when the film will be completed. She wrote:

“I work with many of the college women on our campus with eating disorders, and I found your website while doing my several-times-a-week check for updated information on eating disorder treatment. ….Best of luck to you in your endeavors to reach the countless and often silent victims of these deadly diseases. I pray many people find hope and freedom from Melissa’s story.”

I receive a steady stream of inquiries from college and university counseling centers around the country as well as from guidance counselors at middle schools and high schools. There’s a sense of urgency in the emails. Everyone is trying to find ways to reach kids in a way that will make them pay attention to what eating disorders really mean. I know “Someday Melissa” will do that.”

A year has passed since I wrote that entry, naively thinking the film would soon be completed. Making a film was unchartered territory for me. The road to completion was long and winding, with many unexpected twists and turns, highs and lows.

During that time I continued to receive emails and Facebook messages, from eating disorder treatment programs, high school guidance counselors and coaches, from individuals and their families. A therapist wrote that I was making a profound impact in the fight against eating disorders. We knew we were doing something important. That’s what we kept focusing on when we hit unexpected bumps while completing the film.

However, the most powerful messages I receive, the ones I read over and over, are from those fighting their own personal battles against ED. They post messages in our website’s guestbook and Facebook pages. One young woman wrote:

“The documentary brought my therapist to tears. we watched it over 3 sessions. This is only the beginning to the many lives you and Melissa will continue to help save.”

“Melissa’s story inspired me while I was in the throes of my own battle with Bulimia and Anorexia. I remember watching the clip from the Today show over and over…she was like me, only difference was I still had a chance to beat this monster. After a 15+ year struggle, I finally found the courage to step forward and accept treatment.”

“Thank you for giving me the courage to live “sober” and choose to be real… My heart bleeds for you, but rest knowing you can always save one starfish. Melissa’s story woke me up from a relapse today…. and I might never know how much I potentially owe you, and her, for that.”

I’m grateful that Melissa’s story, and my ability to share it, is continuing to fulfill her dream of changing lives.  ~ Judy

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  • Susie Hosterman

    The thing that helped me the most from watching Someday Melissa, was seeing her family’s reaction to her disease. I was biased with my own family, thinking they were overreacting in many senses, but seeing another person like me suffer, and seeing the traumatic effects it had on her family is what truly impacted me the most. Now that I’m better, I feel this undying need to tell my family how extremely helpful and amazing they were/are with me everyday.

  • maya

    I have struggled with anorexia for 12 years now. I am 24 now the battle gets harder everyday. I’ve been in and out of eating disorder hospitals. This illness destroyed so much of my health and did so much damage. Also to my self esteem. I can not wait to order a copy of Someday Mellissa. Judy,from my friends that went to see the screening they said it was wonderful and they just cried from how sad it was,how sad this illness can damage and destroy you. Judy,keep changinfg peoples lives with this,and I’m sorry about your daughter.

  • Jennifer Beck

    Wow, Judy! *I’M* that counselor who sent you the email that inspired your first blog post. I didn’t even know my email had made it onto your blog. I feel honored to be included on your blog, and I am humbled that my anticipation of the film – and the anticipation of others in my field – encouraged you and spurred you on in your efforts to make this DVD. Perhaps fittingly, I asked my university’s library to purchase the DVD. It was purchased, and I just watched it this weekend. I wept at Melissa’s story… which is the story of so many others. I have a client currently struggling with bulimia who I hope will see this documentary. I’m ever hopeful that those with EDs can find hope to believe that their Someday can be today. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your work. Melissa is not forgotten.

    • Judy Avrin

      Hi Jennifer, thank you SO much for writing. It truly has been messages like yours that kept me focused on completing the film even as we encountered all kinds of issues along the way.

      I’m so grateful you purchased it for your college. I’m an academic librarian in NJ and my university has made the film available to the entire campus. We’ve developed a “one-sheet” with info to share w/ our community about utilizing the film in different programs and classes. I’d be happy to share it with you. Why don’t you email me if you’d like it.

      Warm regards, Judy