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Project S.A.V.E. was proud to join NEDA and co-sponsers October 10th, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to educate members of Congress and push for important legislation.

Project S.A.V.E. aims to educate on eating disorders with bill proposal, second annual walk Saturday

By Justin Hicks |

JACKSON, MI – Project S.A.V.E. founder Tammy Myers organized the first eating disorder awareness walk in 2012 to raise money and educate the community on the fight against eating disorders.

This year, she hopes to do more.

In addition to holding the second annual walk Saturday, Oct. 19, Myers is working to change the education system to incorporate eating disorders.

“Last year was establishing and getting things approved – with being a nonprofit, it takes a long time to get stuff done,” Myers said. “This year is about spreading the awareness, having the meetings and helping people.”

She and daughter Ashlee Shepherd worked with state Rep. Earl Poleski, R-Spring Arbor Township, to draft a bill proposal that would add eating disorder education to the state curriculum. The goal is to require Michigan high schools to provide students with five hours of eating disorder education before graduation.

“(Myers) is certainly passionate, born out of their family’s experience,” Poleski said. “We need to make sure young people are educated about eating disorders. … They want to get that education to every young person, so they’re working on that.”

Shepherd has battled bulimia for eight years. She is the co-founder of Project S.A.V.E., which stands for Sharing Ashlee’s Voice of Escape. The organization has reached out to local schools, but Myers said schools have the option of declining the education right now.

“Parents see it as eating healthy, so when (Ashlee) was doing that, I was super proud of her,” Myers said. “Parents need to know what to look for. And when they’re not at home, they’re at school, so teachers need to be aware of it. We’ve got to educate.”

Myers said she presented her bill proposal last week in Washington, D.C., and it will be submitted to the House of Representatives now that the government has reopened.

Last year, Myers said about 50 people attended the first Project S.A.V.E. walk, including psychologists and families and friends of people battling eating disorders. Overall, the walk raised $1,900.

“Most people didn’t know about (eating disorders), so they were surprised,” Myers said. “Those people that walked got a little education. It’s not just about raising money – even if we get five more people who didn’t come last year, that’s five more that have more knowledge.”

Saturday’s second annual walk will be at Cascade Falls Park. The walk will begin at noon and participants will be able to read quotes and facts throughout the trail as they walk.

Project S.A.V.E. shirts will be on sale for $10 and proceeds will go toward helping those with eating disorders who can’t afford insurance, in addition to funding research.

The organization has also started holding regular open sessions from 6 to 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month with various topics relating to eating disorders. Meetings are at the organization’s office, 3501 Wildwood Ave.

“We could be their escape, we could be just what they need,” said Shannon Shepherd, marketing director of Project S.A.V.E. and sister-in-law to Ashlee. “They could just be recognizing they have a problem, and it could be their way of getting ready to get help. Maybe all they need right now is an outside support system.”

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