My journey with NEDA began after my daughter and I attended our first NEDA Walk in St. Louis shortly after she was discharged from her first treatment stay. I remember the joy in knowing that all the people there knew exactly how I felt. I was trying to learn all I could about eating disorders when I discovered NEDA and the Walks. I decided I wanted to be a part of a Walk in Indianapolis.
I was so excited to be chosen to be the Walk chairperson for Indianapolis. I had never planned a large-scale event, but I knew my passion could help drive the event. Recently, I chaired my fourth NEDA Walk in Indianapolis. The greatest joy for me in being the Walk chairperson is the awareness that has grown in my community, the important funds we have raised, and all of the great people I have met.
In addition to the Walk, I was trained in the Body Project. My school district funded a grant for me to offer this training to school personnel as well as community members after I became a trainer. I look forward to reaching many young women who compare themselves to the body ideal.
Recently, I have stepped into advocacy with NEDA.
I believe that raising awareness also involves sharing our voice and our stories. I was fortunate enough to be asked to share my story in the Indiana House of Representatives when they passed a resolution to recognize National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. It was such a great moment to hold a picture of my daughter and share our family’s journey with her eating disorder.
I am so grateful for all of the experiences that volunteering with NEDA has offered me. Through attending NEDA conferences and my volunteer activities, I have been able to meet so many amazing people in the eating disorder community as well as NEDA staff members.
It all comes full circle to that feeling I had at my very first NEDA Walk—being with people who share your beliefs and understand your lived experiences.
Shannon is a second grade teacher in Greenwood, IN. She and her husband Bruce have four children. In addition to volunteering for NEDA, Shannon enjoys reading, taking long walks, and spending time at the beach.