A Reflection of the 2014 Lobby Day

Caroline Haut

Imagine standing on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. surrounded by over 100 people who all share the same passion you have for improving the lives of those who struggle with an eating disorder. Pretty powerful, right? I have never walked into a room and felt so instantly connected with a group of people I have never met before. This was the power embedded in the stories we shared with each other, and this was Lobby Day 2014.

The Eating Disorder Coalition gathered people from all around the country, including volunteers from The Emily Program Foundation, to meet with and discuss issues related to eating disorders including research, education, treatment, and advertising. During these meetings, I came to realize that eating disorders are very hard for many people to understand. Overlooking the psychological factors that play a part in this mental illness, people often ask why someone who is struggling can’t simply “just eat” or “not eat so much.” This is why education is so important. I especially admired Representative Keith Ellison who possessed enough courage to ask us to please help him understand what struggling with an eating disorder is like. One of our team members was brave enough to answer his question, providing us with a chance to educate and inform him. This is just one example of how our voice CAN make a difference for so many people.

Through sharing our stories, discussing the Truth in Advertising and The FREED Act, we were able to work towards providing more people adequate access to treatment, insurance coverage, and to work towards eliminating some of the contributing causes of eating disorders. If you are interested in what we were doing in D.C., volunteer with The Emily Program Foundation, or sign the petition for the Truth in Advertising Act.

Together, we can make a difference.