a note from one of the EDC's Teen Advocates, Gaelyn Tierney
"I have observed one of the most deadly forms of cultural prejudice in this country through my work with the Boulder Youth Body Alliance. This prejudice discriminates against bodies that fall outside of the lines we currently call acceptable. Ninety-eight percent of us cannot naturally fit within these guidelines! Every year, at least 50,000 individuals will die as a direct result of an eating disorder, and millions more will suffer. I have personally been a witness to the pressure put on women –and increasingly, men– to look a certain way, according to the culture we are exposed to.
When I went to Washington, D.C. for the first time with the Boulder Youth Body Alliance in 2009, we were excited to lobby, an endeavor that few high school students get to experience. We met many great people, who had themselves suffered with eating disorders; these advocates had so much passion to get the FREED Act passed. It was a very successful and fulfilling trip, one that I will never forget.
The second time I went in 2010, however, was much more impactful. Upon arriving to the training, we were informed that one of our fellow advocates had died two days before to her eating disorder. Nicole had been planning on coming to that lobby day, her registration forms sent in and her name tag ready. She had died in her sleep, a not uncommon occurrence for eating disorder cases. This news had brought me to tears. I have known people who have suffered from eating disorders, my mother once one of them, but I had never personally known someone to die from it. It was a jarring wake up call.
With Nicole in my heart and mind, I fought passionately to get the Representative and Senators to co-sponsor the FREED Act, many of whom did with great compassion and enthusiasm. I will never forget Nicole’s story, and I will carry on the fight to end the cultural prejudice associated with certain body types."