#BakeforBeat was a charity bake sale to round off Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2018 and raise some money to support Beat in their pioneering work to support people with Eating Disorders.

It was only a year ago that EDAW gave me the confidence to speak publicly about my own history of an Eating Disorder. Although I have considered myself recovered for many years, I still (wrongly) associated a lot of shame with what I’d been through. I didn’t want to be stereotyped and I certainly didn’t want to be defined by the traumatic experience. I’ve come to realise over the years, however, that eating disorders aren’t dirty little secrets. No matter the severity or length, eating disorders are serious mental health conditions to which no shame or judgement should be attached. I no longer feel defined by my eating disorder and freedom from it has allowed me to shape an identity, hobbies and experiences free from its control. It’s also allowed me to be a daughter, sister, friend and girlfriend developing deep and genuine relationships I once thought I might have lost forever. As I embarked on my master in Eating Disorders I wanted to share my own story in the hope of encouraging others to seek professional help.

This year, I wanted to go beyond awareness to raise some tangible funds for Beat, the charity for which I am an ambassador. I decided to host a bake sale and reached out to a whole range of inspiring individuals from those sharing their own experiences of mental health and recovery, to body positive campaigners, registered nutritionists and eating disorder experts, cooks, chefs, brands and just some excellent friends who were keen to bake a cake in support of a good cause. The Pear Tree Cafe in Battersea Park was kind enough to host and I was overwhelmed by the support from the cafe and everyone who turned up with their cakes and gave their time to help run the stall. The generosity of cafe goers was also deeply touching and over the course of the day, a unanimous team effort succeeded in raising £1,216.00 for Beat! 

The highlight of the day was a message from a visitor to say thank you because the event had granted them permission to enjoy a slice of cake free from the guilt or anxiety of their eating disorder, a rare occasion. For me, this single message made the whole thing worth it. Wherever you are in your recovery, know that there is hope, there is power in coming together, there is support of which you are worthy and however distant it may seem, there is joy that can be refound in something as simple as a slice of cake.

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