ST. PAUL, Minn., Oct. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Emily Program and The Emily Program Foundation, national leaders in eating disorders treatment, advocacy, prevention empowerment, and support, today announced they have forged a partnership with Jessie Diggins, Olympic Gold Medalist, to elevate the awareness of eating disorders as a serious illness impacting millions and encourage people struggling with eating disorders to seek help.
Jessie Diggins captured the hearts of the nation with her incredible photo finish to win gold and subsequent selection to carry the flag at the 2018 Winter Olympic closing ceremonies. In addition to being a sports champion, she is a champion for opening up the dialogue about eating disorders. In a recent blog and subsequent stories, she shared her belief that the conversation about eating disorder related issues must be louder in order to eliminate shame and secrecy. In her blog, Jessie wrote, "We need to open up the conversation about body image, self-confidence, and disordered eating. It should not be a shameful thing, or a taboo topic. It's more prevalent than people think, and perhaps making help easier to find and less difficult to ask for could save some lives."
She was also public in her blog about having had an eating disorder and that she sought treatment. She wrote, "I checked into The Emily Program, a national leader in eating disorder treatment. It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but also the most important. Because it saved my life, in every way that a life can be saved. I learned that I was struggling with this so much because I needed an outlet for stress, and that it was ok to feel a range of emotions – that I could survive feeling pressured, stressed, unhappy, sad, or angry as well as feeling happy-go-lucky."
"Jessie Diggins is an inspirational role model for people of all ages. Having an Olympic champion sharing a message that needs to be heard by many, including young athletes and coaches, is powerful," said Lisa Radzak, Executive Director of The Emily Program Foundation, whose focus is on empowering prevention, strengthening support for people in recovery, and advocacy. "A voice like Jessie's can inspire hope and action all the way around the world," agrees Jillian Lampert, Chief Strategy Officer for The Emily Program and Board Member of The Emily Program Foundation. "Both the Program and the Foundation want to help amplify Jessie's call to action to talk about body image and eating disorders, encourage people to unashamedly reach out for help, underscore that these illnesses need help to heal, just like other illnesses, and make it clear that recovery is possible."
In describing her recovery experience, Jessie said, "It gave me a way healthier relationship with food and taught me that I can't control everything and that I don't need to. The Emily Program taught me how to accept myself and love myself. In a world of professional sports, and especially if you are a gymnast or judged on your appearance, I mean, we race in spandex on national TV—that can be hard on your self-confidence." She went on to say, "The Emily Program taught me to protect and love myself and caused me to be stronger and not worried about looks but to worry about health and strength and power. I thought living with my ED was how it was going to be forever and that's not how it needs to be. It's possible to recover and to see yourself in a positive light."
Jessie Diggins will be active with The Emily Program and The Emily Program Foundation in multiple ways, in person and on social media. In a few weeks she will share her personal story of recovery at The Emily Program's 25th anniversary celebration on November 3rd from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at The Emily Program's St Louis Park Location. A special program beings at 2:30pm and will include Diggins as keynote speaker and photo and autograph opportunities with her. There will also be interactive learning stations and inspirational messaging, and staff from both The Emily Program and The Emily Program Foundation will be on hand to answer questions. Light refreshments will be available. This all-ages event is free and open to the public.
About The Emily Program
Founded in 1993, The Emily Program helps people of all ages and genders who struggle with eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, compulsive overeating, and related mental health and body image issues throughout Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, call 1-888-EMILY-77 or visit emilyprogram.com.
About The Emily Program Foundation
The Emily Program Foundation is a Minnesota-based nonprofit working to end eating disorders. The Foundation empowers prevention, supports recovery, and advocates for legislative change. It strives to reduce the stigma of eating disorders by sharing stories of struggle, strength, and hope. For more information, visit emilyprogramfoundation.org.
SOURCE The Emily Program