First Ever Legislation Victory for Eating Disorders
Groundbreaking legislation, the 21st Century Cures Act, was passed in the last few days of the Obama administration. The bill includes important language surrounding eating disorder recognition and treatment. The passing of this bill has the potential to change millions of lives with its clause that ensures that healthcare professionals know how to both recognize and treat eating disorders. The bill will also ensure that insurance companies treat eating disorders the same as they would treat a physical condition. Mental health parity – treating physical and mental illnesses equally – became a law in 2008, however eating disorders were excluded up until this point.
Check out more by Kitty Westin, who spearheaded the bill in memory of her daughter, on her blog post here.
September has always been my favorite time of year: back to school, warm days, cool nights and the smell of fall. I vividly remember my first day of kindergarten. I wore a new dress and shiny new patent leather shoes. At that age, I had no signs of an eating disorder or voices. I was excited to start school, determined to do well and looking forward to new friends. This photo reminds me of the young girl who, with big dreams, believed anything was possible.
Ever since kindergarten, I strove for perfection. I remember my very first report card with two “un-satisfactory marks for not taking naps and poor scissor skills. To this day, these are both weaknesses…yet I continued to strive for perfection.
Starting college in 1973, the perfectionism that once helped me become Watsonville high school valedictorian now turned against me. Getting my first ‘B’ in fortran (programming) destroyed my confidence, and was a trigger for my lifelong battle with anorexia. Throughout the next 40 years, I had good years and bad years. However, I never gave up hope, and most importantly was fortunate to have expert treatment at the University of Iowa and at Stanford. I thank Dr. Katherine Halmi, Dr. Agras, Dr. Arnow, and Dr. Safer, among the many others, for their expert treatment and never giving up on me. Also I thank my family and friends who “put up” with me during the difficult times.
My battle and search for treatment opened my eyes to the urgent need in our community for coordinated and expanded awareness, education, and treatment.
With the guidance of long-time friends and colleagues, we founded EDRC in 2006. I would especially like to thank our board member Deborah Bingham who researched and completed all the paper work; and continues to guide us through the challenges it takes to start and run a non-profit. Additionally, I am grateful for the many volunteers who so graciously donate their time and expertise to EDRC.
And, lastly, I am grateful for each of you who have supported our work over the past ten years.
Even though we are making strides in awareness and treatment, there is still much to do to fight this illness and prevent the suffering, misunderstandings and stigma still out there. With your continued support, we will be here for those who need our help. I ask that you consider EDRC in your year-end giving. To donate, click here. Thank you, and I wish you and your family many blessings in the upcoming season of gratitude and holidays.
EDRC celebrated its 10 year anniversary on May 14th with support from Good Samaritan Hospital and generous donors.
Silver Bell Awards were presented as per EDRC’s mission of awareness. recovery, and advocacy. Once again, we thank Dr. Stewart Agras, Dr. Debra Safer, and Dr. Jim Lock for raising awareness; Thomas Insel for promoting recovery; and Jim Raphael for advocating for victims denied coverage by insurers.
Dr. Thomas Insel, Dr. Lara Gregario and the 49ers’ Paraag Marathe each shared dynamic, powerful messages that reemphasized the need for the often overlooked problem of eating disorders to be addressed.
Thank you to all those who attended– community members, treatment professionals, family, and friends. We hope you enjoyed our celebration and speakers, and look forward to another 10 years of service!
EDRC volunteer Nathaly Alcalá and her mother, Carmen de Alcalá, were featured on the Spanish-language radio station KQED (91.5 FM). Interviewed by “Fresh Air” host Celina Rodriguez on December 14, they shared Nathaly’s experiences with anorexia nervosa.
Nathaly urged the Latino community to learn about eating disorders, share their knowledge and experiences, and seek help for recovery.
The interview led to our receiving several phone calls from Latinos seeking help for family members and friends. EDRC is currently working with a mother who, because of the radio interview, sought help for her middle-schooler.
As we start the holiday season, I want to share what I am grateful for. I am grateful for my family and friends and colleagues, including our EDRC donors. I am also grateful for the many students who volunteer for EDRC and participate in our Every Body’s Beautiful Essay Contest. Each year I have the honor of mentoring local high school students to guide them in fulfilling their commitments to volunteerism. This year’s Irvington High School students (Left to Right) Michelle Chin, Temmy Leung, April Jin and Niki Liao are focusing their research project on helping raise awareness about eating disorders.
“I chose eating disorders for my research project because people are not well educated in this topic and because I want to major in nutritional science in college.” –Temmy Leung
“To me, things like confidence, high self-esteem, self-respect, intelligence, determination, perseverance, self approval are the most beautiful things in the world.” – Rose Yan
These bright, caring and ambitious students epitomize a world where their abilities matter more than their appearance; and one where their energies will go toward bettering our world rather than aspiring to look like unrealistic and unhealthy fashion models.
I just finished reading one of my favorite authors: David Brook’s Road to Character. What struck me profoundly was his interesting comparison of resume virtues versus eulogy virtues. Resume virtues are the accomplishments and skills we put on our resumes; eulogy virtues are the characteristics that are at the core of our being and for which we want to be remembered. What will your eulogy include? What will your legacy be?
I have always loved Winston Churchill’s We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. And the importance of giving back.
This time of year my financial planner, John McKee, reminds me to update the beneficiaries of my IRA, 401(K), and annuities. Even designating 1% will be appreciated by the non-profit while still providing for your loved ones. Johnhas pointed out that designating non-profits as the beneficiaries of retirement plans makes a great deal of sense. Retirement funds have yet to be taxed, and will be fully taxable to beneficiaries. That is, unless the beneficiary is a non-profit. Non-profits have 501c3 tax exempt and do not have a pay these deferred federal and state taxes.
By remembering EDRC or other favorite non-profit in your will and trust, you will leave a legacy that will endure.
On behalf of our volunteers and for those struggling with an eating disorder I thank you for your investment in our work: giving those struggling with eating disorders and their families hope.
I wish you blessings, good health and good times with your family and friends and all the best in 2016.
P.S. Please save the date April 30 when we will celebrate you and EDRC’s ten years of service; and check out our new website designed by our wonderful volunteer, Khyati Mehta. You can contact her at email@example.com
“EDRC’s efforts align with Kaiser Permanente’s mission of improving the health and well-being of our community Kaiser’s grant of $15,000 will support EDRC’s Support and Recovery Program.”
– Amy Aken, Kaiser Permanente South Bay Sr. Community Benefit Specialist.
“El Camino Hospital is pleased to support EDRC. Thank you for the excellent work your center provides. We appreciate having your expert team of volunteers and resources available for our hospital, our community and our partners.”
–Barbara Avery, Director, Community Benefit, El Camino Hospital.
We hope you will join our new monthly online giving program, participate HERE and become a friend for life!
Please visit the Silicon Valley Gives Campaign website on Tuesday, May 5 (12:01 am to 11:59 pm) to make your annual contribution to the EDRC. Your gifts will be matched dollar for dollar by an anonymous donors for this campaign. The campaign is an opportunity to share with the community our mission and to bring new donors into our family. Help us reach our goal of 100 donors. Spread the word with your family, friends and neighbors. You can also RSVP to our Facebook Event here.
EDRC Announces Awareness Week Events: February 22-28, 2015
Saturday, February 21 at the Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz. Come join us in cheering for the women of UCSC as they wear purple ribbons to fight for eating disorder awareness! The first 50 fans will receive a free bracelet! See flyer for more details.
Saturday, February 28 in Los Gatos, the Eating Disorders Resource Center will host a workshop for parents of children with eating disorders.
Friday, March 27: EDRC will award cash prizes to middle and high school students for essays written on the theme “Every Body’s Beautiful.” The deadline for submission is March 27.
Binge eating. Anorexia nervosa. Bulimia. All eating disorders are serious and complex medical and mental illnesses. Because early intervention is so important, recognizing the signs of disordered eating is vital for both the public and health professionals. An online screening tool is available.
The holiday season is an opportunity to recognize and thank our donors, board members, volunteers and partners for giving generously of your heart, time and resources. Your contributions help us guide those struggling with this devastating illness and their families toward recovery. We hope you will consider EDRC in your year-end giving. Your gift will help people in our community get access to eating disorder resources, information, support, and treatment.