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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The first-ever Gainesville National Eating Disorders Association Walk is Sunday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

The check-in time is 10:30 a.m. and the walk is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Registration for the walk is $25, and 100 percent of the proceeds go to the eating disorder association. The fundraising goal for the walk is $15,000.

Chelsea Kronengold, a 20-year-old UF psychology junior, coordinated the event from the ground up.

After transferring from the University of South Florida last semester, Kronengold realized Gainesville didn’t have an event that supports the fight against eating disorders, so she made some phone calls.

“The point is to raise money for the organization but also to reach out to the community about the opportunities and resources available for people with eating disorders,” Kronengold said.

The cause is important to Kronengold because she suffers from binge-eating disorder.

“There’s two sides to the eating disorder spectrum, and while I do think that bulimia and anorexia are very important to spread awareness, not everyone knows about binge eating and compulsive eating,” she said.

At the walk, people will be informed on how to help others who suffer from eating disorders.

Taylor Widom, an 19-year-old UF journalism freshman and participant outreach chairwoman for the walk, said it’s important to bring eating disorder awareness on campus.

“Having dealt with an eating disorder myself, what upsets me is people have this stereotypical image in their head of what an eating disorder looks like. They think of some stick-skinny, bone-sticking-out person, which is not the reality,” Widom said.

The guest speakers attending will be sharing personal stories about overcoming their eating disorders, and both have Gainesville and UF connections.

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Dagny Knutson, a competitive swimmer who left her Olympic dreams to seek help for bulimia, took treatment at Shands Eating Disorder Recovery Center. Allison Kreiger Walsh, founder of Helping Other People Eat, is a UF alumna and Miss Florida 2006.

While it’s a heavy subject, Widom said it’s going be a lighthearted event.

“Everyone knows someone who could be affected by an eating disorder,” she said, “so we are trying to spread awareness to everyone, not only the younger generation.”

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