For all of us at Someday Melissa, the past few weeks have been a whirlwind of non-stop activity. This was our first year participating in National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAwareness Week) and we are proud to say that it was a tremendous success for our organization.
Our Events page was filled with screenings that were held in high schools, colleges, health care centers and local movie theaters around the country. Screenings and discussions took place in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma and Virginia. Several were scheduled in the weeks before NEDAwareness Week and still more are coming up in the months ahead.
On February 28th, NEDA hosted a screening in New York City at Pace University, the same day that the Empire State Building was lit in NEDA’s colors of blue and green. Although the size and makeup of audiences varied at each screening, there was a common thread that highlighted the importance of the week. This was illustrated when Diana Williams, WABC-TV news anchor and panel moderator at the NEDA screening, posed the following question: “The theme of this year’s NEDAwareness Week is ‘Everybody Knows Somebody.’ I’d like to see a show of hands – how many of you know someone who has been impacted by an eating disorder?” Some hands immediately shot up, while others tentatively followed suit. Soon the auditorium was filled with raised hands. It was a powerful moment that emphasized why NEDAwareness Week is so important. Eating disorders do not only impact those suffering, but also friends, family and loved ones. It is a disease that is ignored all too often due to stigma, shame and silence. Each hand that was raised helped to break the silence and shout “I know somebody!”
I told students at a college screening last week that when I was their age, no one ever talked publicly about alcoholism or breast cancer and that my mission is to help break through that same wall surrounding eating disorders. A short time later, a young woman hesitantly raised her hand and said that she’s been in recovery from bulimia for 3 years and that my words gave her the courage to say it out loud.
We would like to thank everyone who attended a screening and let us share Melissa’s story with them, as well as the film facilitators and sponsors. Even if you could not attend a screening, every post on Facebook with words of encouragement, every reply on Twitter, every DVD ordered helps us with our mission: to educate about eating disorders through Melissa’s words and images. We could not do this without your support.
Although the week has come to a close, our work at Someday Melissa is far from over. NEDAwareness Week has started the conversation about eating disorders, but we need to keep the dialogue flowing every week and every day. Year-round, let’s raise our hands and make the statement that “everybody knows somebody.”
Thank you my sweet Melissa for changing lives.
On behalf of my Someday Team, Love, Judy