Warrior Stories

Iskra Lawrence, NEDA Ambassador

To me, being a warrior means using your experiences and the strength you've fought with to empower yourself and to help or inspire others. NEDA Walks enable us all to connect and share what we've been through, and to feel proud to be warriors! Walking together in unity reminds us that we are not alone and that when we unite, we can achieve anything.

Shalini W.

Last year I came to the NEDA Walk for the first time, and as I listened to the stories of the people up on stage, I was struck by how similar their stories were to my own. I remember thinking that if their stories were valid and their eating disorders were real, then maybe my eating disorder was real, too. Because of the walk last year, I started to take my eating disorder more seriously. It really was a catalyst for me, and just a few months later I finally went to treatment.

Justin S.

Participating in the NEDA Walks over the past few years has been one of my favorite days of the year. It’s a celebration that reminds you you’re not alone in your recovery, and there aren’t words to describe the safe and secure feeling that comes in being surrounded by people who know what you’ve gone through. It’s so easy to get caught up in the mindset of working towards your next goal in recovery, but NEDA Walks are a reminder to take a step back and celebrate how far we’ve all come, both individually and as a society. Seeing the walks grow year to year is a physical representation of growing footprint of NEDA’s work, and nothing puts a bigger smile on my face.

Ally L.

I attended my first NEDA Walk afraid of admitting to myself or anyone else that I needed help, but I was amazed at the community of hope and support I witnessed — it's what has kept me coming back every year. Each NEDA walk leaves me inspired to keep pushing forward and fighting for what I believe in. Somewhere along the way, with the help of the recovery community, I've found my voice and I'm no longer afraid to admit when I need help.

Nia P.

This was the first year I'd ever gone to a NEDA walk and I met up with some of my recovery friends there. It was amazing to see such a diverse group of people get together to walk for something that has inflicted my life for so long. As someone who is fat, I was worried about the walk being too much for my body, but my friends stuck by me the whole time and made the walk so fun that I wasn't even focusing on my body. I can't wait to go to another walk this year and to meet new people and make new friends. This community is amazing and means the world to me.

Louise & Sam Y.

Participating in NEDA Walks gives me strength, motivation, and encouragement. Each year I'm reminded that I’m not alone in this battle against myself, and that there is a strong community of beautiful souls fighting right alongside me.

Being married to someone who struggles with an eating disorder is like always having a third person around who is always speaking lies into my wife's ears. Sometimes it’s a shout and sometimes it’s a whisper, but I am here to interrupt that voice to reassure Louise that she is good enough just the way she is. Going on this walk together shows that we recognize the destructive nature of eating disorders and pledge our time and energy to fight it.

Paige S.

When I attended my first NEDA Walk in 2016 I was still hesitant to share my struggles publicly because of the added on stigma of eating disorders. That fear quickly disappeared after connecting with the strong and inspiring recovery community. Being surrounded by people who share the same passions as you do is an incredible feeling. After that day I realized my voice needed to be heard and I will never stop using it. Each NEDA Walk has continued to prove to me that, although recovery is hard and there will be bumps in the road, it is worth the fight. 

Shawn O.

For me, being a NEDA Warrior means that I will fight for eating disorder recovery and education. It means that I am a part of a community that supports and looks out for each other because we know how it feels to battle your own mind.

Gracie W.

After being diagnosed with anorexia at the age of 12, my dream is to help end the stigma that comes along with eating disorders and mental health in general. I am pursuing this dream by having my own recovery blog, as well as being a NEDA Warrior.

Emma H.

Being a NEDA Warrior means using the strength that recovery has given me to empower others in their recovery. It means when faced with an obstacle, I choose recovery because of those who've inspired me and the people I may inspire in the future.

Melissa R.

I am a NEDA warrior not only because I have overcome a 10 year battle with an eating disorder, but because I fight for those who have and will experience an eating disorder.  It it my mission to provide support to those who need it and create awareness on the prevalence of this deadly disorder.

Raya L.

Being a NEDA Warrior means that I stand up to stigma and bring awareness of eating disorders and spread the message that recovery is possible!

Emma M.

What makes me a NEDA Warrior is my drive and determination to make sure not only myself but everyone else can begin to love themselves, both inside and out - just the way they are.

Holly S.

Being a NEDA Warrior means using my growth and strength to show others that they too CAN heal. It means using my own experience as a vessel of hope and example of recovery for those that are hurting.

Sonya M.

As someone who has struggled with disordered eating since childhood, I fight hard to keep myself healthy and silence my ED voice. My struggles have strengthened me as a person and have solidified my desire to help others recover from eating disorders so they can fulfill their dreams and live a full life. 

Hannah H.

To me, being a NEDA Warrior means using my real authentic voice to empower and lift up others struggling. It also means not participating in conversations surrounding diet trends, weight, and food rules that some people close to me may have. Although it is not always easy, life is so much better on the other side. I will continue to share my joys of recovery so others struggling can see that it is so worth it.

Maddie F.

What makes me a NEDA Warrior is the strength I use to complete my recovery, and my craving to help others in the future. I know when I recovery fully, I can begin my future helping others. My journey through my eating disorders has helped me discover what I want to do in the future: help those who went through similar experiences I have. 

Claire K.

I’m a NEDA Warrior because I aspire to not only be my own advocate throughout recovery, but to also use my experience and voice to motivate and inspire others to love, nourish, and be kind to their bodies. I’ve chosen to fight for recovery every single day; I stay transparent and honest with myself and my recovery team. I continue to use my voice, and I’m never looking away from the path to recovery.

Hannah G.

To me, being a NEDA Warrior means courageously pursuing recovery while advocating and sharing my story of growth, all while helping to raise funds for the organization that makes me believe recovery is possible.

Sheri B.

For whoever needs to hear this: I used to think you were “healed” when you no longer cared about scales, food, other people’s opinions, or whatever was your trigger. What I have learned in my recovery is that the real healing is in still feeling the uncomfortableness, the pain, and coming out of it less bruised than you did in the past. That is strength. That is a superpower. That is being a warrior.

Brooke M.

Being a NEDA Warrior means staying up against diet culture and preventing the spread of eating disorders with everything I do. It means not participating in conversations around diet or exercise when friends might be. It means be conscious about the images I post of how I look and my recovery story. Being a NEDA Warrior means I’m advocating for better treatment and prevention with everything I do and say 365 days a year. It means sharing the joy or recovery and encouraging those who are struggling. A NEDA Warrior is someone who does not conform to healthism or body shaming. I’m so passionate about the NEDA causes! 

Martha W.

As a NEDA Warrior, I am committed to supporting those struggling with an eating disorder or caring for someone that struggles, raising awareness and understanding of eating disorders, and advocating for legislation that will improve funding for research, provide parity for eating disorders, and help identify and treat eating disorders.

Hannah S.

Being a NEDA Warrior means being your truest and most vulnerable self without being afraid to show it. You are you and no one can take your unique self away from you. I am a NEDA Warrior because I choose recovery each day. Even when days are more difficult, I remind myself of where I was, what I have accomplished and where I want to be.

Wendy F.

After spending more than half my life enslaved by my eating disorder, recovery, and being a NEDA Warrior, is a priceless gift that I cherish. Because of NEDA and the NEDA Walks, I am now blessed to be an eating disorder support group leader and to be a voice in the darkness. NEDA Walks remind me that, through recovery, I have a strong powerful voice and I can use that voice to help others know that they are not alone and that, no matter how long they have struggled or how many times they have fallen in their journey, there is hope, there is help, and recovery IS possible.

Stacey P.

Being a NEDA Warrior means having to fight a battle more than once to win it. As Demi Lovato says, "I don’t see a championship winner, but I see a fighter and someone who is going to continue to fight no matter what is thrown in their way."  My journey has not been rainbows and butterflies. There have been times I’ve wanted to give back in to my eating disorder, but I have come too far to only come this far.

Lisa H.

My sister passed away in June, 2018 after many years of living with eating disorders.  We were unable to reach her to convince her that there is another way to live. I want others to realize that there is an empathetic path to recovery with lots of available resources.  I'll do what I can to raise both funds and awareness. Lisa H.

Megan A.

I was diagnosed with Anorexia at the age of 13. It almost took my life. NEDA provided so many resources for me and my family! I began my real, full recovery. I can now say that I am fully recovered! Healing is possible. Recovery is possible. It’s scary, it’s hard, but the hard work is so worth it in the end. The reward is life, happiness, energy, friendships, and relationships. Keep fighting, fighters.

Karli J.

After struggling with an eating disorder for years and quietly navigating recovery in an appearance-obsessed society, I realized how pivotal it was that I put fears of judgement aside and use my voice to share my experience. I now co-run a recovery-centered instagram account, @destroyingdietculture. It was my aim to create a community of positivity and debunk diet culture myths amidst a world where we’ve been brainwashed to believe we should be small. After the first post on Destroying Diet Culture, we were met with an outpouring of empathy and support from friends, peers, and strangers, alike. To me, this proves that we are not alone in our struggles, and we can come together to create a positive community and spread love. Recovery means fully embodying my most authentic self and taking up all the space I deserve. Karli J.

Crystal G.

Being a NEDA Warrior means continuing the awareness, fight, and support for those I know, I love and I want to know struggling with an eating disorder. I've been supporting my sister in her struggle and fight with her eating disorder for over 25 years. As a support system it was hard to find my way to be strong for her. Becoming a NEDA Warrior gives me a voice and a way to support her and everyone struggling.

Morgan W.

I am a NEDA Warrior because I fight and never give up. I might stumble or fall, but I pick myself back up and keep going. I also care about those around me. I never want someone else to go through what I had to go through. And through this work, I will help support those who are suffering alone and/or in silence like I was for 20 years. Having the tools and space to open up about E.D is the key. So, if I can help even just one person, that is a victory. Morgan W.

Kelsea G.

My determination, strength and motivation makes me a NEDA Warrior. I have not personally suffered from an eating disorder, but I have been affected by them. I walk each year in honor of my sister. I have seen all sides of eating disorders and I have taken what I learned to motivate myself to help others that need it the most. I have seen how far my sister has come in the battle against her eating disorder and I get my strength and determination to walk for others from her. 

Mary A.

I am a NEDA Warrior this year to honor my daughter, Veronica, who died three years at the young age of 30 after battling an eating disorder for 12 years.  Love alone couldn't save her from this tragic ending.  In my lost hope for her recovery, I am rising up with my grief to be an advocate and support others' recovery. As a NEDA warrior I have the opportunity to raise funds and awareness about the grave dangers of hiding an eating disorder.  It is my hope that these efforts educate the community and reach individuals that are struggling and spark a desire to ask for help. Mary A.

Suzanna S.

Being a NEDA Warrior means perseverance. I have been fighting everyday for most of my life. I may not always win, but I always get back up. I do not give up no matter how hard it gets. 

Celia W.

Being a NEDA Warrior means being a part of a community that can relate to some of the struggles I deal with and can support each other. I am a NEDA Warrior because I work hard every day to keep going and fight the ED voice in my head.

Cheryl V.

I am the parent of two girls who suffered from eating disorders.  I was lost at first and had no idea what was happening or how to combat it.  As a result, I lost valuable time for my daughters, and the disease itself wasted no time.  I remember that time in our lives as a painful but valuable lesson, and want to make sure no one, whether a parent, spouse, loved one and, most importantly, the individual suffering from an eating disorder themselves to feel that same sense of helplessness.  By supporting NEDA I hope to make sure they have the lifeline to find the help they need.