A fundraising walk in Bellarmine University's quad on Saturday, September 15, is intended to increase awareness about eating disorders while raising money for education, prevention, support and research.
The National Eating Disorders Association's Louisville NEDA Walk includes remarks by a former professional baseball player and an educational session the afternoon before the walk. The event, a collaboration between the association and Bellarmine University, has raised more than $100,000 in its five-year history.
Participants can register for free online
or at the event, and are encouraged to make a donation if they choose. As of September 5, this year's event has already raised more than $16,000.
On-site registration for the Louisville NEDA Walk begins at 8 a.m. The program begins at 9 a.m. with opening remarks followed by the fundraising walk.
Guest speakers on Saturday include:
- Mike Marjama, a Major League Baseball player who retired from the Seattle Mariners in July. Marjama struggled with eating disorders as an athlete in middle and high school, requiring hospitalization and inpatient treatment. He serves as an ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association.
- Dr. Andrea Krause, a pediatrician who is inpatient director of Norton Children's Hospital's eating disorder team and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Louisville's School of Medicine.
- State Rep. Ken Fleming, who serves parts of Louisville and Oldham County in Kentucky's House of Representatives. Fleming sponsored legislation to recognize National Eating Disorder Awareness Week in Kentucky earlier this year.
Dr. Jean Lamont, a Bellarmine psychology professor, is researching ways to improve health outcomes for young women by using "mindfulness" to address body shame. Learn more.
"The annual Louisville NEDA Walk has helped remove the stigma associated with these disorders so those suffering can receive the help and support they need to recover and lead the lives they were meant to lead," said Melissa Cahill, who coordinates Louisville's walk.
"It is estimated that more 100,000 individuals within the greater Louisville area will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their lives," she said. "Despite their increasing prevalence, eating disorders receive significantly less funding than other major mental illnesses, and support options are often inaccessible. As a result, too many families are left feeling helpless, hopeless, frightened and untreated. NEDA Walk proceeds directly impact our community, restoring hope and changing the conversation surrounding eating disorders."
The most common eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, these disorders can have life-threatening consequences
for cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and mental health.
“The NEDA Walk is an incredible opportunity for Bellarmine to learn about a commonly misunderstood mental health issue, eating disorders," said Clare Dever, director of Bellarmine's campus recreation and wellness programs. "The event not only increases awareness, but ultimately teaches us to be a good friend or family member by sharing our concerns and connecting someone with resources. NEDA’s work resonates with Bellarmine’s values and I know we make a difference each time we host this walk on our campus.”
This year, organizers have added an educational session the day before the event. Marjama will speak about how his eating disorder affected his athletic performance, and Dr. Lynn Supple - a former college athlete and licensed psychologist who specializes in treating eating disorders - will discuss mental health aspects of eating disorders. That program is in the George G. Brown Center's Frazier Hall on Friday, September 14, at 1 p.m. [campus map