My first vision of this March came almost six years ago when I lobbied in DC for eating disorder legislation with my then 16-year-old daughter. At the end of that day the only thing that went through my mind was that our legislators just do not “get” it. They don't understand the hell that sufferers and families go through when battling eating disorders. At that moment, I realized that it would take a bunch of angry moms and families “marching” on Capitol Hill in order to create change. It is going to take eating disorder organizations to quit pursuing independent strategies, to collaborate, to join hands and unify their voices into one powerful voice that will not take no for an answer. Our legislators need to understand that early diagnosis and treatment is vital; that eating disorders do not have to be a life sentence and are survivable. Legislation needs to be enacted that requires the medical community to be educated on eating disorders, that compels insurance companies to swiftly cover treatment, and that provides funding for research.
So, why do I March? I March for those that have lost and those who still suffer. I March for those that have survived, but still have battle wounds. I March for the phone calls I receive every day from mothers crying that their child is very sick and no one will listen. I March for the families that have children lying in hospitals and can't convince insurance companies to pay for treatment. I March for the sufferers who have been seeking treatment for decades but are told repeatedly that they are not sick enough or aren't worthy. I March for the men and boys that suffer, but can't receive treatment because “males don't get eating disorders”. I March for the children that can't put food to their lips, but the moms are told they are just picky eaters. I March for the young woman in Texas that had 13 moms battle Texas Medicaid for five months so that she could receive life-saving treatment. I March for all those like her that are still suffering. I March for my friends that have had to watch their children die and were told: “…you are to blame for your child's eating disorder…” I March for my friends who can’t March because their children are still suffering and need to be supported at every single meal. I March for those that are too sick to March for themselves. I March because the stories need to be told and they need to be heard. I March because we all need to go to Capitol Hill, stand up, and shout “No more!” I March because if we don't fight for our children and for ourselves, who will?
It is time to unite all the fragmented voices across our country. All of the eating disorder organizations need to stand strong with moms, families, advocates, and sufferers. Together, we must send a powerful message to our legislators that we are unified and are of one voice, one stance, and one mission. As of this date, 31 non-profits have joined hands to help deliver this message. This is unprecedented and a huge step forward. Please be a part of the change and join us on October 27 at 3 pm in Washington D.C. to use YOUR voice at the federal level. Together we can make a difference!
This is why I March!