Aly_Raisman_Photo6_ColorI’ve been working with Walden for a few months now, and my experiences are getting better each time. The work they are having me do with them is so valuable and enriching. In my last visit to Walden, I met with the patients being treated in Walden’s inpatient unit for the first time. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when I first walked in, and I had no clue how I was going to be received. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the patients were comfortable around me and very welcoming. After spending just 15 minutes with them, I was able to connect on a personal level, creating a memory I will never forget. They asked me for my autograph which is something that I am used to, but seeing their keen interest and excitement from getting an autograph was heartwarming. I am inspired by them, because it’s not an easy job to overcome an eating disorder.

While I am certainly not a doctor or a medical professional of any kind, I think that my partnership with Walden has been very effective so far. Walden’s staff has taught me so much about eating disorders including signs and symptoms, how they are treated and about what Walden does to prevent them. It is admirable work.

I feel very fortunate to been seen a symbol of confidence and self-love for those with eating disorders. I hope the patients realized through our time together that I am just like them and the amount of medals someone has doesn’t make them any less human than the next person. No one is perfect and everyone is beautiful in their own way. We are all too hard on ourselves, and it takes a lot to feel confident day in and day out.

One of my biggest goals in working with Walden is to inspire men and women of all ages to feel beautiful and confident in their own skin. I already feel that I have started to do that even though I have only been working with Walden for such a short time. The experiences and knowledge that I’ve gained thus far make me confident that the work we will continue to do will make a huge difference in the lives of those struggling with eating disorders.