NIED’s annual Honouring the Journey celebration is just around the corner!

This year it will be held virtually on June 2, to coincide with World Eating Disorders Action Day. This is NIED’s 9th annual Honouring the Journey, which not only recognizes the founding of NIED in 2012, but also pays tribute to those who have lost their lives and provides hope and encouragement to Eating Disorder sufferers, caregivers and healthcare professionals who are all part of the journey to recovery.

The theme for this year’s Honouring the Journey is Voices of Hope, Tribute, Inspiration and Celebration. NIED is very excited to welcome two keynote speakers to this year’s event who have been dedicated to spreading awareness for Eating Disorders for many years. Karen Flello and Kirk Mason are the sister and partner of Michelle Stewart, who lost her battle with Anorexia and Bulimia in 2014. In the final year of her life Michelle wrote a blog where she detailed her lifelong struggle with the illness and her time in palliative care. After she died Kirk and Karen took those blog posts and published a book called Shell:  One Woman’s Final Year After a Lifelong Struggle with Anorexia and Bulimia. “We always knew that one day we would hold a symposium or something to acknowledge and honour Michelle’s voice,” says NIED Founder and President Wendy Preskow. “So that’s why we’ve called it Voices of Hope, Tribute, Inspiration and Celebration.”

The celebration will also include a panel discussion which will be moderated by the Globe and Mail’s health reporter and columnist, André Picard. The panel will include people with varied backgrounds and experiences with Eating Disorders including:

Kirk Mason, who will be speaking from the perspective of a male caregiver;

Zachary Grant, a queer, trans, gender-non binary Sheena’s Place employee where they started the Greater Toronto Area’s first support group for trans, non-binary and gender questioning individuals with Eating Disorders and;

Tierra Hohn, a person of colour, registered yoga teacher and Eating Disorder survivor.

Part of every Honouring the Journey is a candle lighting ceremony to commemorate those who have lost their battle but also recognize all those involved in Eating Disorder treatment, care and recovery. All the panelists will be lighting a candle, relating to their own journey and experience with Eating Disorders. Everyone participating from home will also be encouraged to light a candle or flashlight to pay tribute, inspire or celebrate.

While this virtual celebration will be different from previous in-person events, NIED is hoping that it will draw participants from all over the world wanting to recognize World Eating Disorders Action Day. Wendy says it is important to NIED to hold Honouring the Journey every year because it brings people together and helps acknowledge the wide variety of people who struggle with Eating Disorders and highlight the different ways they have found success. “[We want to] acknowledge and let people be aware that they are cherished and not forgotten and cared about,” she says. “Everybody’s lives matter, and everybody deserves a life.”

This year’s Honouring the Journey will be held on June 2 from 7:00pm-8:30pm. To register visit our homepage or under Honouring the Journey. Registration is free and the first 100 people to sign up will receive a free copy of Michelle Stewart’s book, Shell.