Hope for those with eating disorders -- Linden Oaks hosts Candlelight Vigil.
Candlelight Vigil celebrates hope for those with eating disorders
By Susan Dibble | Daily Herald Staff
Joan Mrozek, clinical leader at the eating disorders program at Linden Oaks at Edward, has seen patients as young as 11 and as old as their late 70s.
Some may struggle for as long as a decade to overcome their disease and some do not make it.
Yet with help and support, they can regain control of their bodies and lives, Mrozek said.
The seventh annual Candlelight Vigil, at 6 p.m. today in the Healing Garden at Linden Oaks at Edward Hospital, 801 S. Washington St., Naperville, celebrates that hope.
"The vigil has taken on a life of its own. Every year, it just gets bigger," said Mrozek of the event sponsored by Linden Oaks and the National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders.
"We had an amazing turnout last year, almost 500 people. It was so inspiring."
Speakers will include Dr. Maria Rago, clinical director of Linden Oaks' eating disorders program, and current and former patients. Two families who lost loved ones will speak on what might have been.
Darryl Roberts, who directed and produced the documentary "America the Beautiful," about the modeling industry and its impact on women, will share his thoughts. Miss Indiana Nicole Pollard, whose platform issue is the awareness and prevention of eating disorders, will be a guest.
Eating disorders are more common among women, but an emphasis on sports can leave young men obsessed with their weight too, Mrozek said.
The disorders include anorexia, the refusal to maintain a healthy body weight and an obsessive fear of gaining weight; bulimia, binge eating followed by compensatory behavior, such as purging; and compulsive overeating.
"The recovery time is long. It can be anywhere from two years to 10 years, with an average of five to seven years," Mrozek said.
Linden Oaks' eating disorder program includes inpatient treatment, partial hospital and intensive outpatient. Arabella House, a residential care home, can house up to 12 women recovering from eating disorders.
A Finding ME (mindful eating) program for compulsive overeaters is held at Linden Oaks' Mill Street location.
Group therapy, medication and education are used to help people overcome eating disorders, but former patients agree that support is key, Mrozek said.
Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders has a support group that meets at 6:30 p.m. Mondays at the hospital. An Eating Disorders Anonymous group meets on Thursdays, and on the first and third Thursdays a friends and family group meets.
The Candlelight Vigil is open to all and includes a display of reading materials, Mrozek said.
"We would encourage anyone to come and learn about eating disorders," she said.
If you go:
What: Candlelight Vigil for eating disorders
When: 6 p.m. today
Where: Healing Garden of Linden Oaks at Edward Hospital, 801 S. Washington St., Naperville
Info: (630) 305-5000
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services