Skating Event to Raise Eating Disorder Awareness
by Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz, special to U.S. Figure Skating
Many skating fundraisers happen throughout the year and for varied causes. SC of New York member from Clifton Park, New York, Elizabeth Bernardini and her friend Ellie Shamlian know raising awareness for eating disorders isn’t among those events, and they are hoping to change that with “E’s Versus Eating Disorders,” a skating event to raise money and awareness a cause that hits close to home for them.
"We chose skating as the main activity for this fundraiser because skating is so much fun and a family friendly event that brings people together,” Bernardini said. “At this event people of all ages and skill levels can come to the rink and skate. We will be selling hot chocolate at the event and there will be raffles from local businesses.”
Bernardini, 16, is a competitive figure skater from the SC of New York who began skating 13 years ago, and Shamlian, 16, is a member of her high school’s cross country team. For Shamlian, the cause is close to her heart after witnessing a close friend’s journey through anorexia at age 12. Shamlian watched as her friend went through a whirlwind of hospital visits and treatment programs, missing out on school, family, friends and a huge portion of her life.
Bernardini also witnessed the struggles of body image among herself and friends during her competitive skating years.
“After seeing many friends struggle with eating disorders, we decided we wanted to do something about it,” she said. “I teamed up with Ellie to organize this open skate fundraiser where all the proceeds will go to NEDA, the National Eating Disorder Association.”
NEDA is a national nonprofit organization that manages important information such as a helpline, eating disorder screenings, research and helping individuals and families receive treatment and care.
“I am so incredibly excited about an opportunity to use what I love, skating, as a way to bring people together for a good cause,” Bernardini said.
The two chose this organization “because unfortunately eating disorders are prevalent in society and not talked about enough,” Bernardini said.
Together, the two hope to bring about understanding and passionate generations who can aid in preventing eating disorders and help those who are suffering.
Working on the event greatly inspired and gifted their passion to raising awareness about this crucial topic, and they hope to make it a yearly event.
Bernardini encourages everyone to come out to the event, skate and have a good time. They also created a website where anyone can donate to their special cause.
“Eating disorders are way too common and are too often pushed under the rug,” Bernardini said. “They are seen as taboo and not talked about, thus awareness is low even though eating disorders is so widespread. This terrible disease affects so many different people. We hope that we can raise awareness so that people will be more open to starting conversations that will lead to recognition and recovery,” Bernardini said.
“E’s Versus Eating Disorders” will take place March 23 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Capital Ice Arena in Clifton Park, New York. The fun-filled open skating event is 10 dollars for adults and five dollars for students, including skate rentals.
"E's versus Eating Disorders" event logo.
"E's versus Eating Disorders" event flyer.