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2010.05.11 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

June 26 Walk Designed to Shed Light on Eating Disorders

Omaha - For the first time in Nebraska, the National Eating Disorders Awareness Corporation will sponsor a walk designed to raise dollars and support for those living with bulimia, anorexia and other similar diseases.

The walk – scheduled for Saturday, June 26 at Omaha’s Zorinsky Lake – is being organized by a University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) student who has personally battled anorexia since she was 10 years old.

Kaylin Ohler is a social work major at UNO. She is a Norfolk, Neb., native who graduated in 2007 from Norfolk Senior High School and who, in 2009, earned an associate’s degree in behavioral science from Norfolk Community College.

For Ohler, who has lived with anorexia for nearly half of her life, the walk is most certainly personal. The walk, titled The Power of Now, will be held in memory of her friend, Hilary Pile. Pile passed away from complications to anorexia in October 2009. Pile was also a Norfolk native who attended classes at Creighton University and Wayne State College.

“My dear friend lost her fight to anorexia, and I never want to attend a funeral again because of an eating disorder,” said Ohler, 21. “Hilary was an angel and touched so many lives. Even if it was just by her smile, a sense of peace came upon you when you were with her.”

Registration for the walk begins at 10 a.m., with the 5K (3 mile) walk starting at 11 a.m. at the west loop of Lake Zorinsky, south of 168th Street and West Center Road.

Supporters, family members and friends are encouraged to solicit tax-deductible donations before the walk, or make cash donations while walking at the event.

“Eating disorders are not a choice,” Ohler said. “They are an illness – just like cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. As an 11-year veteran of anorexia, I am still imprisoned by my eating disorder and am frustrated with the lack of awareness, research and effort put toward stopping something that is preventable.”

Ohler added: “I am nowhere near being recovered, but am at one of my lowest yet best points of my life. I say this because although my health isn’t well, I know that I do not want to remain a prisoner of this forever. I want to reach my goal of becoming a social worker/counselor to help others, like those who have helped me.”

Ohler said she recalls the feelings and symptoms of anorexia begin to creep in when she was a very small child.

“I wish I could return to my younger self and say the scale doesn’t define you, and that no one can make you feel inferior unless you allow them to,” Ohler said. “Instead, that little girl compared her weight to other classmates, remained shy and felt unworthy. But today I’m here to unite our community to raise awareness, donations and help for individuals and their families.”

For more information on the June 26 fundraiser, contact Ohler at kohler@unomaha.edu or (402) 640-8706; or visit http://neda.nationaleatingdisorders.org/OmahaWalk.

The National Eating Disorder Alliance Association has shared the following facts about eating disorders in the United States:

• 81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat
• Most fashion models are thinner than 98 percent of American women
• Eating disorders impact up to 24 million Americans and 70 million individuals worldwide
• An estimated 10 to 15 percent of people with anorexia or bulimia are male
• 51 percent of 9- and 10-year-old girls feel better about themselves if they are on a diet
• 42 percent of first- , second- and third-grade girls want to be thinner
• Two of every five women and one of every five men would trade about four years of their life to achieve their goal body weight
• A young woman with anorexia is 12 times more likely to die than other women her age without anorexia

* *

UNO is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The celebration recognizes the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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© 2014 University Communications. voice: 402.554.2129, fax: 402.554.3541, unonews@unomaha.edu