A long, long time ago (January, to be precise), I applied to a contest hosted by NYC-area running specialty store JackRabbit called the Run for the Rabbit Campaign. The Campaign entailed raising money for a charity of your choice while gaining exposure for JackRabbit by starring in television ads, blogging, and tweeting for them, and training for the Hamptons Marathon in September. I knew right away that I would choose NEDA as my charity, given how important running has been in my recovery, and how important it is to me that people understand that eating disorders are a serious problem that need to be addressed on more than just an individual, case-by-case basis.
Not too long after sending in my application, I was contacted to come in to their flagship store for a screen test–out of the 328 applicants, I was one of about 50 to make it to the next round of the selection process. Moving to the next round was scary for me; I was really excited about the possibility of raising money for NEDA and working on increasing awareness of EDs, and I thought having the chance to train for the marathon with a coach would be something fun and different. But there are a lot of charismatic people in the world, so I didn’t expect to get any further than that round of things. Imagine my surprise when I found out that I’d made it into the top 10, and that I couldn’t tell anyone because the organizers wanted to create anticipation for their big reveal on April 22. Only 6 people would be chosen to be part of the Campaign, and the JackRabbit people had plans to run a teaser ad on television and online throughout March and April to get people talking about the whole thing. If anyone leaked that they’d made it to the top 10 (or even that they hadn’t), well, the element of surprised would be slightly ruined. So I kept my mouth shut.
Because I was in the top 10, I had to do a bit of leg work to prove that I would be a compelling addition to the Campaign, and that people would want to give money to my charity. I contacted NEDA to make sure they’d be on board with the whole thing (they were), I went to the orthopedic doctor (who told me I had spindly chicken legs), and I made a list of things I would do to raise money (all the while worrying that this list would be my downfall. There was always an element of the Campaign that felt a little bit like a popularity contest, and that had made me hesitant to apply, not to mention unsure how to feel about moving forward, in the first place. The list just felt like another part of that). Once I’d gotten all my ducks in a row, I waited. Then I waited some more. And then one morning, I got an impersonal form letter telling me I had not been chosen for the top 10. Knowing that in addition to me, there were only three other people who hadn’t made it past the top 10 made the fact that it was a form letter sting. After all the effort I put into the Campaign, a personal letter would have meant a lot.
I’m not going to lie, getting turned down for the Campaign has been really hard. Since I applied in January I’d entertained the idea of how much the Campaign would help me to move forward with the things I’ve been working hard to achieve through this blog, how much it would mean to raise money for NEDA and be able to help others get the care and support that I was fortunate enough to receive when I was at my lowest point, and how cool it would be to possibly even be a source of hope or inspiration to people, showing them that there is life after an ED–when you’re mired in the depths of ED thinking and behaviors, it can be really easy to lose sight of the fact that things can change. When I got the email notifying me that I hadn’t been chosen, I also had to adjust my thinking and internalize the fact that I would not be doing the things I had secretly been hoping to do as part of the Campaign.
Part of this adjustment has consisted of realizing that the end of my participation in the Campaign does not have to signal the end of getting involved and working beyond the confines of this blog to promote awareness of eating disorders. I’ve already contacted NEDA about other ways to get involved with them, and I am looking forward to the opportunities that will come from this. And even though I will not be benefitting from the same degree of exposure I would be getting as part of the Run for the Rabbit Campaign, I still want to do some fundraising (hopefully using the blog as a vehicle by doing things like a blogger bake sale, or a silent auction or something of this sort) for NEDA and other organizations that are committed to stopping the spread of eating disorders in our country and around the world. I might not be able to raise a ton of money, but every little bit counts, and it’s important not to underestimate the potential that just taking time to talk to someone about EDs can have when it comes to positive change.
Reminder: Don’t forget to enter the Eazy Bandz giveaway! You’re allowed up to four entries, and the giveaway ends next Friday. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try this new product–I’ve been wearing one of my Eazy Bandz all day today, and it hardly feels like I have a headband on at all.