National Eating Disorder Association hosts first-ever walk on Boca campus

The organization hosts 80 annual walks around the U.S.

Joshua Giron


Ali Dusinberre, high school senior and Vice President of Eating Disorder Awareness Club at Spanish River High School, poses for a picture after walking the NEDA walk while wearing a shirt that says “Hope Starts Here.” Alexander Rodriguez | Photo Editor

Alexander Rodriguez, Photo Editor

Close to 100 people participated in a walk outside the Florida Atlantic College of Nursing building on Sunday morning to help spread awareness about eating disorders.

The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) is an American non-profit organization that helps young teens and adults overcome eating disorders. In addition, the organization educates the community about the illness and helps find treatment for those who need it.

NEDA opened their registration booths at 8:30 a.m. and handed out bright blue shirts that read: “Hope Starts Here.” A five-minute yoga session was instructed for participants as a warm up before walking the event.

NEDA hosts 80 walks every year around the country to spread awareness of eating disorders. Nearly 15,000 people participated in the walks last year.

Arianna Staton, a high school senior and President of Eating Disorder Awareness Club at Spanish River High School, coordinated with NEDA to help launch the walk at FAU.

“I also struggled for a little while few years ago with an eating disorder and that’s when I created this club,” said Staton.

Staton contacted Claire Mysko, CEO of the National Eating Disorder Association after creating her club at Spanish River. That’s when the idea of bringing the NEDA walk to Boca Raton for the first time.

During the opening ceremony before the walk, Mysko thanked Staton for her hard work bringing NEDA to Boca Raton and thanked the community for attending.

“Your support here today is really going to change the face of eating disorders,” said Mysko.

She went on to talk about public advocacy for NEDA and gave out postcards for people to send to their local representatives to gather support to recognize national eating disorders as an awareness week.

High school senior and Vice President of Eating Disorder Awareness Club at Spanish River High School, Ali Dusinberre, talked about her struggles with eating disorders.

“I wanted to take a shortcut … I was pushing it away and walking away from it but it wasn’t working,” said Dusinberre.

She has been in recovery for two years.

In attendance was Dr. Rachael Silverman, a clinical psychologist specialized in eating disorders and practices in Boca Raton. She shared statistics and ways to help people suffering from different types of eating disorders.

“An estimate 700,000 Floridians suffer from an eating disorder,” said Silverman. “We must educate our educators on the signs of eating disorders.”

Ariana Staton, high school senior and President of Eating Disorder Awareness Club at Spanish River High School, introduces Claire Mysko at the opening ceremony.
Alexander Rodriguez | Photo Editor

The 15-minute walk took participants from East University Drive, around to the FAU stadium and back.

“It’s a nice cool day and not too hot for a walk,” said Shaun Payne, Broward county resident and participant of the NEDA walk.

Payne was accompanied by his fiancée Julia Morett-Vij, a Nova Southeastern University student. Both suffered personal experiences with anorexia disorder and continue to overcome it.

“We get help from family and friends, just talking about it, and working on it everyday,” said Payne.

After the walk, Staton distributed small gifts to the people who raised the most money for the Association.

“If there’s one message I want to send to anyone who feels like they’re stuck, I was wrong and nobody likes being told they’re wrong but if you feel like you can’t get out of this either, then you are wrong too,” said Dusinberre.

Alexander Rodriguez is the photo editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @AARodriguezz93.