As a male who has never personally suffered or had a close relationship with someone who has suffered from an eating disorder, one might not expect me to be an advocate for eating disorder awareness. My girlfriend expressed interest in eating disorders awareness and asked if I’d like to help in a local event called the Tampa Bay Eating Disorder walk. I offered a helping hand in some of the physical things such as putting out signs and setting up tables before the event started. As the event began, I saw the number of people pouring into the field where it was taking place. I was surprised, to say the least, as I had never imagined that eating disorders had affected this many people, and that was just in Tampa, Florida. The only thing I knew about eating disorders was anorexia and even that definition was very far off. As I heard some of the guests begin to give their testimony, I started to realize that eating disorders were more serious than I thought.
I decided that I was no longer going to be in the dark about eating disorders, I was going to educate myself. Someone unaffected by eating disorders could easily believe the misconception that eating disorders only affect women, but they, as I was, would be completely wrong. Someone unaffected by eating disorders may have thought the person who said “I have an eating disorder” was just looking for attention, when in actuality that brave person was asking for help. The common denominator in each of these scenarios is this, people are not aware of eating disorders.
It has been 2 years since I attended that walk in Tampa. Since then I have attended several other eating disorder advocacy events, including a Zumba event put together by my girlfriend Hannah, and heard some amazing stories from many women and men alike that have struggled and overcome eating disorders. Empowered by these testimonies, I submitted a request for an upcoming event to be posted to an internal volunteer site hosted by SunTrust, my employer, accessible to all of its employees. With the mission to raise awareness and help those who suffer from eating disorders, I plan to continue my #MarchAgainstE.D.’s.