Drake University will host an event to promote understanding and awareness of eating disorders, specifically bulimia. Sponsored by Drake’s Counseling Center, “Andrea’s Voice: Silenced by Bulimia” will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25 in Sheslow Auditorium, 2507 University Ave. The event is free and open to the public.
Andrea Smeltzer died in her sleep at the age of 19 after struggling with bulimia for a year. Andrea’s parents, Tom and Doris Smeltzer, devote their time to eating disorder prevention through Andrea’s Voice Foundation. The Smeltzers will share what they have learned through their experience with their daughter’s eating disorder, with the goal of promoting understanding without judgment. Through their honesty, the Smeltzers aim to reduce the stigma and shame felt by those affected by eating disordered behaviors.
“The Counseling Center is proud to sponsor the event, as we recognize how powerful of a message this can be for our staff, faculty, and students to hear,” said Counselor Melissa Nord. “As we know, disordered eating is a huge issue on college campuses–and is something that certainly needs more attention.”
According to Nord, one study showed as many as 40 percent of female college students struggle with disordered eating, and 91 percent have attempted to control their weight through dieting. The number of male college students with eating disorders is also rising, she said.