Walk aimed at fighting eating disorders

A personal journey for one local family has propelled them to organize a local walk aimed at fighting eating disorders.

Four years ago, Center Grove Elementary School kindergarten teacher Shannon Nunnelly and her husband learned one of their four children was affected by an eating disorder, and had no idea what to do. They knew they had to get help, but weren’t sure where to find it.

“I didn’t know where to turn,” Nunnelly said.

After reaching out to the National Eating Disorders Association and through therapy, they found the resources they needed. Now, Nunnelly is on a quest to spread the word so that others know they’re not alone and help is available.

“There are so many types of eating disorders. It is the deadliest mental health disorder. It is very real. It’s not a choice. It’s not something someone chooses to have,” she said.

Nunnelly began telling her story and spreading awareness about eating disorders through the Center Grove school system, giving talks to administrators and employees. After doing a NEDA fundraising walk in St. Louis with her daughter, Nunnelly decided to bring the fundraising walk here.

She took on the task of creating the event, which will take place Saturday at Freedom Park. More than 160 people were signed up by the beginning of this week, and the enthusiasm has been inspirational, she said. Money raised goes toward advocacy and educational programs, and to spread awareness about the seriousness of eating disorders.

“It’s just so neat — the emails I get from people who are so excited, and say they always wanted to do a walk,” she said.

Nunnelly wants people suffering from eating disorders and their families to know that they’re not alone.

“The biggest thing is to take it as a real problem,” she said. “Don’t dismiss it. It’s not a matter of saying, ‘just eat.’ It’s a very real problem.”

If you go

National Eating Disorders Association’s 4th annual Indianapolis NEDA Walk

When: 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Registration and check-in begins at 9 a.m.

Where: Freedom Park, 750 W. Stop 18 Road, Greenwood

For information, visit www.nedawalks.org/indianapolis2016 or call 212-575-6200

Cost is $25 per adult, $15 per student, $10 per child 5-12, $5 per pet; kids under 5 walk free.

Anna Herkamp is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at aherkamp@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2712.