Dear EDC Member Organizations, supporters, advocates and all those who care about the cause of Eating Disorders-
Over 100 advocates from across the country descended on the nation's capitol to advocate for the FREED Act --the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders (HR 1448, S 481). We had over 50 new advocates join us this year!
The events all began with a Reception and Meet and Greet Social on Monday evening prior to Lobby Day. "The Joy of Recovery: A Story of Inspiration" was shared by long time EDC advocate Eileen Binckley. A light dinner along with refreshments were served as advocates both new and old mingled.
EDC National Lobby Day, April 12th, began early with a training for all new advocates. EDC Policy Director Jeanine Cogan and I helped to calm the nerves of new advocates by educating them on the process of lobbying and what to expect on the Hill that day. Along with educating advocates about 'what to expect' that day, we had fun with ice-breakers, sharing stories of hope and inspiration, and getting to know our fellow advocates. After a couple hours of training the soon-to-be-veteran-advocates, we headed upstairs to join with the entire group of the EDC advocates. Great to see old friends connecting with new EDC advocates and friends! We had a lot to cover in a short amount of time, so we settled in with a small breakfast as we went over the basics of the FREED Act. Teams sat together had a chance to practice what they would say in their upcoming Hill visits. Despite the "spring showers" we headed out to the Hill with enthusiasm and gusto!
At 4pm we all met back up in Dirksen Senate Office Building for our very powerful Congressional Briefing entitled: "Addressing Eating Disorders through the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders Act". The Briefing was hosted by Senator Tom Harkin and included a diverse group of distinguished speakers: Seham Eldiwany MD, FAAP, Pediatrician & Director of Teens Health Center, Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center: “No More Harm: Why Physicians Need to Properly Identify Eating Disorders”; Gaelyn Tierney, Talia Goldberg, Vally Dikovitskaya of the Boulder Youth Body Alliance: “Teens Talk: Why the FREED Act is Important to Teens in the U.S.”; Dawn and Joe Radsek; “When Insurance Companies Fail to Cover Life Saving Treatment: Parents Share the Tragedy of Losing their Daughter”; Lisa Kantor, Esq. Kantor & Kantor LLP: “Holding Insurance Companies Accountable”; and Matt Wetsel: “No More Gender Bias: A survivor discusses his challenges and triumph over anorexia”.
Each of the speeches given were thought provoking. Despite some of the speeches touching on the pain associated with eating disorders, there was a current of hope pulsing thru the audience. That hope is that the FREED Act exists.
As a direct result of advocates sharing their stories on the Hill this EDC National Lobby Day we already have new co sponsors in both the House and Senate! This speaks volumes about the relationship that EDC advocates have with offices of their Representatives and Senators, as well as to the power of using your voice to share your story.
We are forever grateful to each one of you who finds the time, and dedicates the resources, to come share your story each and every Lobby Day. WITHOUT you there would be no hope of passing the FREED Act. WITH YOU, there IS hope. There is hope that we WILL see a day when treatment of eating disorders is equal to the treatment of physical illness. There is hope that we WILL see a day when research dollars are no longer so disparate compared with other illnesses. And there is hope that we WILL see a day when eating disorders education and prevention exists in every single state. We hope you had an encouraging and inspiring time and that you will join us again at our next EDC National Lobby Day in September!
There are many opportunities prior to September for you to use your voice and advocate for Eating Disorders and related issues on the Federal level, so make sure you stay connected!!
Join the Friends and Family Action Council: http://www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org/join-renew.htm
Connect on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Eating-Disorders-Coalition/186592083884
Follow our tweets on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/EDCoalition
Again --thank you each for your putting your time, resources, and your emotional and physical energy into April, 2011 EDC National Lobby Day. We hope you are very proud of your Self for all that you accomplished.
with much respect and gratitude, Kathleen MacDonald, Policy Assistant