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Project HEAL to host gala to raise eating disorder awareness

Students at a previous Project HEAL Gala at Ohio State. Credits: Courtesy of Project HEAL OSU Chapter

In honor of body positivity and eating disorder awareness, Ohio State’s chapter of Project HEAL will host its fourth annual gala on Saturday.

Maggie Wolf, president of the Project HEAL chapter and fourth-year in psychology, said everyone knows someone who is affected by an eating disorder. By hosting this event, the group hopes to educate those on how the disorders affect people.

“We’re hoping to make it educational in showing how deeply eating disorders affect not just those who are diagnosed, but their family and everyone around them also,” Wolf said.

Project HEAL is a nationwide nonprofit organization that holds fundraisers to provide scholarships and grants for those with eating disorders that need monetary assistance with their recovery. The recipients are able to use the money for doctor’s appointments, therapy and in-patient treatments so they can take the steps toward recovery.

Maggie Nachtrab, social media chair of the Project HEAL chapter and a fourth-year in English and French, said the event is open for everyone because body positivity is a constant struggle in college.

Both Nachtrab and Wolf struggled with eating disorders in the past, and joined the organization to use their experiences to help others .

“One big thing that we want people to take from the event is that insurance often doesn’t cover eating disorder recovery because they’ll see it as a weight issue,” Wolf said. “I know the storyline of getting dropped by insurance companies when you finally think you’re doing well, so we really want to raise money to help people beyond that point.”

The gala is the organization’s biggest event of the year. The 2018 gala raised more than $6,000 for the nonprofit, but there are other events throughout the year that encourage body positivity and raise awareness.

The night will have members of the Eating Disorder Professional Community serve as keynote speakers, as well as a basket raffle items donated from local businesses. There will also be entertainment from Dance Connection and acapella group Scarlet Grace Notes.

Some of the prizes for the raffle include donations from Victoria’s Secret PINK and Simply Southern, and every ticket purchase comes with five raffle tickets.

“The raffle tickets are my favorite part because we honestly get some really good donations from businesses,” Nachtrab said.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Archie Griffin West Ballroom in the Ohio Union. Tickets are $30 for general admission and $20 for students. Students can also attend their bi-weekly meetings at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays in the Ohio Union.

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