Eating Disorder Awareness Week: A Retrospective by Lindsey MacIsaac

I hope the seeds I have sown will be taken up by those who will follow me because the journey I have begun cannot be undertaken in isolation.
Evelyn Glennie

The week of February 3rd-9th, 2013 was proclaimed Eating Disorder Awareness Week (EDAW) in Ottawa by Mayor Jim Watson. While Hopewell works to raise awareness of eating disorders as a mental health issue throughout the year, EDAW is an opportunity to really focus on making the wider community aware of this, and to try to reach people who may be struggling or know someone who is struggling, but who maybe did not know Hopewell was here to help. There were many and varied events going on around the city all week as volunteers, businesses and organizations did their part to help us reach the larger community.

Some public libraries and Chapters locations raised awareness by creating displays of books about eating disorders, self-esteem and body image  issues.
Chapters - Gloucester
Centennial Public Library
Centrepointe Public Library
We partnered with the Health Promotions team at the University of Ottawa for a Be Comfortable in Your Genes event where people could exchange jeans they owned that did not fit comfortably, for a pair that did. Starbucks locations also held Be Comfortable in Your Genes events, and raised money for Hopewell at the same time with staff making a donation to be able to wear jeans to work.

Jsquared Dance Company did an amazing display on the mirrors of their studio, writing positive body compliments all over them so dancers would see them while in class. The photo does not do the wonderful display’s hard to take pictures of mirrors!

We also had several other opportunities to get the word out! Bridgehead locations displayed our EDAW poster (designed by one of our great supporters, Laura Daub), Adishesha Yoga Zone and Sage Wellness displayed the poster as well as Hopewell bookmarks and dedicated classes to EDAW, we did a spot on CTV Morning Live, and an interview on Carleton radio CKCU-FM 93.1, and we did presentations for Youthnet, Sandy Hill CHC Women's Drop-in, and a class at Algonquin.

We held the vernissage for our annual art show on February 7th at the Heartwood Gallery. The "Inner Beauty" Art Show is hanging for the month of February and features local artists' expression of inner beauty. Jen Foote, artist and this year's volunteer Art Show Coordinator did a wonderful interview about her amazing work of art:

And to end the week, our "Love Your Life" Valentine Gala was held on February 9th at the Hilton Garden Inn. Dinner, dancing, silent auction, photo booth, and more!

Eating disorders, like many mental health issues, have a stigma surrounding them. This  along with many other aspects of the illness can cause people struggling with them to feel isolated and alone.  EDAW is another opportunity for Hopewell to reach people, to let them know they are not alone, that there are other people who feel the same, and that there are people who can help. Recovery is absolutely possible. So thank you to volunteers, businesses, organizations, libraries, schools and everyone else who helped us raise awareness this EDAW!