Memphis hosts sixth annual Save a Life Walk Sept. 14

Southwest Instructor of English Susanna Jackson extends a personal invitation to all to join her for the sixth annual Save a Life Walk to help fight eating disorders. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) will host the walk at 9 a.m. on Sept. 14 at Overton Park in Memphis. The NEDA Walk started in 2009 and is the largest eating disorder event in the nation now held in 95 cities nationwide. Each year over 20,000 people participate in the walks. The walks raise money to fund eating disorders education, prevention, and support, as well as advocacy and research initiatives. It is estimated that over 30 million Americans will struggle with an eating disorder in their lifetime.

Neda Walk for Eating Disorders, Ocerton Park September 14

Jackson is living proof that there is hope in the fight against eating disorders. She suffered with anorexia throughout college and most of her twenties. Worried about her grades and what other people thought, Jackson said she tried to control the one thing she thought she had power over: food. “Sometimes I looked extremely thin, but for other time periods I looked normal,” Jackson said. “You would never guess that I was struggling so much simply by looking at me.” Over time she lost control of who she was and her relationships with others. She became sick with a low immune system and at twenty-four learned that her bones had thinned to a level seen in much older people. Jackson said the recovery process took years. “Recovery is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “Reintroducing food and nutrients to my body, learning to have self-compassion for myself, opening up to friends and family, and working through body image issues were all parts of recovery.”

Jackson said volunteering at events like the NEDA Walk has meant a great deal to her. The walk is a celebration of hope and strength in the fight against eating disorders and includes body-positive activities and motivational speakers. Her first NEDA Walk was an eye opening experience to realize that someone doesn’t have to look rail-thin to need help. “It’s very encouraging to see people in all stages of recovery and so many support teams walk together as one,” Jackson said. This year’s walk has an extra special meaning to her. “My husband and I are expecting our first child, something we didn’t know would ever be possible because of the damage my body underwent,” Jackson said. “I love that I’m living proof that recovery is possible and that life really can go on to be wonderful after something as dark as an eating disorder. I’m hopeful that more people will be reached and realize they are not alone.”

Thank you for sharing your story, Susanna! The Saluqi family is encouraged to support the event.

NEDA WALK

  • Date: Saturday, Sept. 14
  • Place: Overton Park
  • Time: 9 a.m. Registration and activities; 10 a.m. Opening Ceremony

For more information, visit www.nedawalk.org/memphis2019.