Capitol Hill to Lobby Congress
April 1st & 2nd, 2009
On April 1st & 2nd my dear friend Belinda Platt and I went to Capitol Hill to Lobby Congress.
I did not even know that the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy and Action existed until Saturday, March 28th and found out by researching the statistics on Eating Disorders for this website. As soon as I saw that this group was lobbying Congress I became a member and flew to Washington DC on Tuesday, March 31st to be a part of this group with Belinda. Belinda lives in Maryland with her family and is wearing the red suit. Belinda and her daugther Beth Ann are involved in this ministry as prayer partners and knew Sarah since she was in 2nd grade. Beth Ann Platt was her best friend.
We had an amazing time on Capitol Hill with the entire group of approximately 90 that lobbied with us. We went in different groups depending upon our state. Our group lobbied and visited the congressional offices for California and North Carolina and I was able to share Sarah's story to bring awareness of eating disorders and the seriousness of this. It was wonderful to be there with what we are believing and contending for that 1 million lives will be saved. Every office truly listened to what we had to say in addition to what the others said in our group. We were also blessed to have a pediatrician from Northern California that was in our group as well. We were lobbying to increase federal funding under the FREED Bill and Congressman Patrick Kennedy from Rhode Island spoke at the Congressional Briefing who is responsible for heading up this bill. He now has Sarah's picture on his desk with her story! Many thanks to Belinda for this!
Becky & Beth Ann Platt Beth Ann Platt
Sarah struggled with an eating disorder. Before she left for New York Sarah lost a lot of weight as she had gained weight in during junior high and high school. This went into the opposite direction and became a severe eating disorder in New York which she struggled with on a day to day basis which was so very difficult. It was difficult to watch her go through this. What was the most difficult was trying to get her help and having her not agree with the treatment offered as she was so strong willed and an adult. One top agent said that her strong will is what was difficult in getting her help for her eating disorder but was also this quality that she admired most about her in the pursuit of her dreams.
Her roommate and I tried numerous attempts to get her help but she always thought that she knew best. I was in New York back in July when she was hospitalized and asked one of the physician's to keep her and he told me that since she was an adult and only 20% underweight he could do nothing, she had to have been at least 25% underweight in order to keep her in the hospital. Sarah always thought that she knew best in terms of her treatment which she did not...although she really tried. I would like to see a law passed that changes society, if an adult is struggling with a documented eating disorder those close to them are able to override their decision and get them the treatment needed.
November 8th in the morning was just an ordinary day until I received an earth-shattering call from a physician in New York. Sarah had been found in her apartment having passed away, she was rushed to the emergency room by ambulance and he was so sorry to tell me that there was nothing that could be done to save her life. Yes, he did try to revive her with all of the medications and heroic measures but to no avail. I had just spoken to her on November 7th, the night before and she was fine. She went into an instant arrhythmia and immediately passed into the presence of the Lord. I miss her greatly, she was everything to me and we were so very close but I do know that I will see her again in heaven someday and she is very near.
One week before she passed away she made a frame with her hand print. She inscribed in blue clay "I Surrender All" on one side and on the other side is a modeling picture. This touched me more than words can say. The Lord has taken her home and now there are so many other young women that need to be helped. She will leave a legacy to save other's lives for all eternity.
Facts About Eating Disorders: What the Research Shows
from the EDC
Eating disorders affect millions of Americans
- Approximately 11 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder
- Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder
- Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescents
- Eating disorders do not discriminate:men and women, all economic classes, young and old are
Eating disorders are not the patient's fault
- The risk of developing an eating disorders is 50-80% determined by genetics.
- Dieting, a normalized behavior in our culture, is a risk factor for the development of an eating
disorder and can trigger eating disorders in those with a genetic predisposition.
- Even young children in our society are influenced to feel bad about their bodies and encouraged
to engage in unhealthy dieting behaviors.
- Our society's emphasis on appearance and idealization of thinness promotes dangerous dieting
behaviors and blinds us to people suffering and in need of treatment.
- Genetic predisposition does not spell destiny. Our strongest approach is to focus on modifying
the environment factors that influence risk and perpetuate disordered eating.
- Due to the cultural misunderstanding of eating disorders and the idealization of thinness, those
suffering are often unable to perceive the gravity of the illness or seek assistance on their own
without the assistance of family, friends, or clinicians.
- Education and prevention initiatives are necessary to prevent a new generation of people from
developing eating disorders.
Eating disorders are dangerous
- Eating disorders kill. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness,
upwards of 20%.
- Eating disorders can lead to major medical complications, including cardiac arrhythmia,
cognitive impairment, osteoporosis, infertility, and most seriously death.
- The mental anguish of an active eating disorder is tremendous, and persists beyond the medical
consequences. Eating disorders cause social isolation and emotional distress comparable to
other mental conditions like depression.
- The toll of inadequately treated illness is crippling for the patient, the family, and society.
- Suicide, depression, and severe anxiety are common during the active illness and treatment.
Eating disorders are treatable
- Treatment of an eating disorder in the US ranges from $500 per day to $2000 per day.
- Outpatient treatment, including therapy and medical monitoring, can cost $100,000+.
- Eating disorders can be successfully and fully treated to complete remission, but only 1 in
10 people with eating disorders receive treatment.
- Eating disorders affect many people before the prime of their life. Proper treatment can ensure
that most sufferers will become fully contributing members of society.
- The NIH has allocated only $1.20 in research funding per affected eating disorder patient,
compared to $159 per affected individual for schizophrenia.
- Treatment can take months to years, but early intervention with evidence-based care is
improving the prognosis for a new generation of patients.
- Expert, skilled clinical support is essential to diagnose, treat, and support eating disorder
recovery, but eating disorders specialists are not available in many communities and lack
- Health insurance companies do not typically cover the cost of treating eating disorders, even
with mental health parity laws.