MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The final week of February is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Eating disorders impact women and men of all ages. In Minnesota alone, more than 57,000 adolescents and 145,000 adults are affected.

The Emily Program is a non-profit that works to prevent eating disorders through education. Their efforts, which include seminars, outreach and forums, aim to prevent eating disorders by bringing awareness to the disease and eliminate stigma attached to it.

This include stigma not only attached to eating disorders, but to being thin in general, as with Rachel Frederickson from Stillwater, Minn., who won “The Biggest Loser” in January. After winning, many people thought she looked too thin.

In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, the foundation will host its first annual gala, “unmaskED,” Saturday, March 1. The theme of the gala, “unmaskED,” symbolizes the removal stereotypes and stigma that is associated with eating disorders.

“The mission of the Foundation and unmaskED is very personal to my family,” said Mary Mathiowetz, vice president of The Emily Program Foundation Board of Directors and unmaskED Gala Chair. “Our story is one of openness and honesty — no secrets or shame. Not everyone can say that about mental illness, and that is what this event is about — making sure they can and do.”

The gala will include an art gallery inspired by eating disorders and recovery, an auction, and music by Bruce A. Henry Band. It will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Muse Event Center, located at 107 3rd Ave. N. in Minneapolis.

More information can be found at the Emily Program Foundation online or by contacting Sue Riesgraf via email or at 651-379-6151.


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