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Why it’s time to Show Up, STAND UP for Eating Disorders

By: Cherie Monarch

This monster came from nowhere. It swooped into your life. It blindsided you. It crippled you or paralyzed your loved one. It held them captive and made them unable to see. No one understands. No one gets it. You try to explain to friends and family. They think it’s a choice. You try to enlist the support from your medical doctor. They just think it’s a phase. You are desperately calling insurance companies — trying to get them to understand the medical necessity. The urgency. You are battling for your life. You’re battling for your loved one’s life. Their response? “You have to be really sick to get treatment.” It’s a race against time. You are spinning. Gasping for air. Trying to find somebody who will listen. Somebody who will help you breathe. Somebody who will understand. Somebody who will hold your hand.


Imagine you are standing on the west lawn of the Capitol of the United States. You’re overlooking The Mall and the Washington Monument. You are in the place that stands for unity, freedom, equal rights, and understanding. Imagine you are standing there with thousands of people that ‘get it’. They have walked a very similar journey. They have felt your pain. They have felt your desperation. Imagine holding their hand. Suddenly the isolation and the loneliness disappears. Now you can breathe.


Now imagine that you have the opportunity to share your story. Your journey. Your battles. Your suffering. You are giving a face and voice to eating disorders. A voice that has been silent for far too long. Now imagine that people actually start listening.

That is what the March Against ED is about.

Its time to end the silence! Its time to create change!

The time has come to unite and end the silence around eating disorders. To end the shame, the stigma, the misinformation. To ask for our medical practitioners to be EDucated. To ask for all to have access to best practice care.

Over 14 million people in the United States suffer. Yet no one is talking. Only one in 10 receive treatment. Yet no one is talking. It is estimated that 20% will die within 10 years of diagnosis if left untreated. Yet no one is talking. Someone dies every 62 minutes. Yet no one is talking.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness

Yet no one is talking.

The time has come to start the conversation. Eating disorders are not a choice, but are genetically based, biological illnesses. Eating disorders are not about body image, being thin, or vanity.

We cannot afford to continue diluting the life and death seriousness of eating disorders. Eating disorders look like a death wish. One that threatens the sufferer’s mere existence; threatens their hopes and dreams for the future; threatens their ability to bear children; threatens the functioning of every one of their vital organs; and paralyzes families mentally, physically, and financially.

March Against ED!

On October 27 we will gather in Washington DC for the second March Against Eating Disorders. We will stand on the Mall — united. Parents, sufferers, families, clinicians, teachers, providers, researchers and legislators. Joining hands. The landscape has never been better. Annas Law has bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. Together we have the opportunity to start the conversation and save an untold number of lives. But we must show up. We must stand up.

If we don’t stand up for ourselves or for our loved ones, who will?

So my plea to you is this … we each must do one thing. One thing to create change. Please take two days out of your life for the March Against ED and EDC lobby day to share your story, raise your voice, and give eating disorders a ‘face’. We have been silent for far too long.

The silence will end October 27.

The time is NOW.

Register NOW.

Note to Parents, Families, and Carers

I know many of you are in the throes of supporting a child or loved one with an eating disorder. You would love to attend the March, but feel that there is no way this is possible. My plea to you is this… Attending the March could be the best thing you do; for you and for your loved one. This will give you the opportunity to meet moms and families walking similar journeys. The opportunity to put on your oxygen mask. The opportunity to feel like you’re not so isolated, so alone. It will empower you. So if you have the ability to take two days out of your life, do this for you. Do it for your loved one. Do it for the MILLIONS that deserve the chance for recovery. Do it so you have the strength and courage to continue the fight!

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