Luther holds first NEDA Walk

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Luther holds first NEDA Walk

Jacey Davis ('21) organized and spoke at Luther's NEDA walk on Oct. 20.

Jacey Davis ('21) organized and spoke at Luther's NEDA walk on Oct. 20.

Kyle Brusco (‘22) | Chips

Jacey Davis ('21) organized and spoke at Luther's NEDA walk on Oct. 20.

Kyle Brusco (‘22) | Chips

Kyle Brusco (‘22) | Chips

Jacey Davis ('21) organized and spoke at Luther's NEDA walk on Oct. 20.

Kyle Brusco, Staff Writer

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The first National Eating Disorders Association Walk in Decorah was held on Luther’s campus Sat., Oct. 20 at 9:30 a.m.  Around 70 participants and 30 volunteers braved the 30-degree wind chill to spread awareness about eating disorders. 

Volunteers handed out snacks and bottles of water, although few asked for water on such a cold day. After several speeches and a yoga session, the group set out from the pool lot. Wrapped up in multiple layers of jackets, hats, and gloves, they walked around the Luther campus to raise awareness for their cause. 

Jacey Davis (‘21) organized Luther’s first NEDA walk. During her first year at Luther, Davis took Mental Health First Aid, a course with a unit on eating disorders.

“We talked about how [eating disorders] are really common and the lack of research [surrounding them],” Davis said. “I just felt like I had to do something.  This sent me into a spiral trying to plan an event to support people with eating disorders.”

Kyle Brusco (‘22) | Chips
Approximately 70 people walked to support people with eating disorders.

This spiral eventually led her to NEDA, a nonprofit organization devoted to helping individuals who struggle with an eating disorder.  These walks are the main way that NEDA raises awareness about eating disorders. People who have struggled with or are struggling with an eating disorder as well as their supporters participated in the walk. 

“I suffered from an eating disorder for four years, and this is my fifth NEDA Walk,” Isabella Searcy (‘21) said.  “I’m out here to raise awareness and to help other people who have been through the same thing.” 

This walk was open to anyone who wanted to attend. Also, several volunteers came down from the University of Minnesota Rochester. According to Davis, they heard about the event and decided to come down and help with no prompting. Many Decorah residents attended, and a few members of Luther’s staff also showed up to support the cause. 

“My daughter has an eating disorder, and every day I work with Luther students who struggle with the same thing,” Registered Nurse and member of Health Services Nancy Hovden said. “It’s a widespread issue, and this walk is a great way to raise awareness for it.” 

The event raised $3,941.  While this did not exceed their goal of $5,000, it exceeded the organizers’ projections.  Because of this success, the organizers plan to continue the event through the foreseeable future. Davis said she will continue to organize the event until she graduates. 

“I am already thinking about some changes I would like to make for next year, and how to raise more awareness for the event,” Davis said. “Eating disorders affect so many people in so many ways. How could I not do something?”

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