Photo Credit: Paul Cappocia
Help to Eat, Accept, and Live.
That’s the message behind Project HEAL, a 501(c) nonprofit organization that recently gained an official Marywood chapter.
Founded in 2008, Project HEAL, or PHEAL, aims to help people struggling with eating disorders. The organization aims to provide scholarship funding for people who cannot afford treatment, promote healthy body image and self-esteem, and serve as a testament that full recovery from an eating disorder is possible, according to the project’s website, theprojectheal.org.
Marywood’s chapter of Project HEAL was recently rejuvenated at the start of the spring 2015 semester by freshman nutrition and dietetics major Johanna Lamb. The club was originally founded in 2014 but was not Marywood-affiliated or officially part of the national board of Project HEAL until this semester under Lamb’s leadership.
Lamb was personally inspired by the story of the national organization’s co-founders, two teenage girls who met while undergoing treatment for anorexia nervosa and helped each other fully recover before deciding they wanted to find a way to help others.
“I want to help people with eating disorders,” said Lamb. “I am very passionate about what PHEAL is about and being in recovery from anorexia nervosa myself, I want to help others to know that they are not alone and not to be ashamed or embarrassed.”
Since 2008, PHEAL has raised over $400,000 nationwide to send nearly twenty people to treatment and has 40 chapters nationwide. All money raised through fundraisers in the Marywood chapter of PHEAL will go directly to the national organization.
Morgan Siniawa, fellow freshman nutrition and dietetics major, was similarly inspired by personal adversity.
“Throughout high school, I surrounded myself with an overwhelmingly negative sense of self-worth,” said Siniawa. “Ultimately what I discovered was that I wasn’t being true to myself. That it didn’t matter what weight I was or what color my eyes were or even how fit I looked from the gym.”
“With Project HEAL I saw an opportunity to better myself, stay positive, become empowered by others, and feel safe talking about my deepest insecurities,” said Siniawa about teaming up with Lamb.
Siniawa stressed how the mission of the chapter is to spread eating disorder awareness. She explained how the chapter will promote a positive body image by supporting one another and raising money for individuals who need treatment.
Lamb further explained how anyone can join the club; no experience with an eating disorder is necessary.
“No one with an illness should have to feel like they need to hide,” said Lamb.
Project HEAL is open to all Marywood students. Information can be found at the chapter’s Facebook page at facebook.com/phealmarywood, and all inquiries or interested individuals can email Johanna Lamb at [email protected]
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