I've got interesting news, and updates, but still too swamped from three trips in a month to organize all my thoughts, but one promise in particular to fulfill. When I was in London last month I met the marvelous social media marvel, Dr. Pooky Knightsmith. She asked specifically if I would write a blog post about F.E.A.S.T. that she could share with her circle. With pleasure and pride, Pooky!
F.E.A.S.T. is the ONLY international eating disorders parent organization. Parent support and advocacy is what we do, and it is all we do. This is not to take away from patient advocacy and support, or pull away from the other wonderful advocacy going on out there but to put a laser-like focus on one important part. Parents are important when it comes to eating disorders. Not because we did something wrong to make our children ill, although for a long time that was the assumption, but because our knowledge and action are probably the most important factor in getting and staying in good treatment -- and following through on that long after treatment ends.
There are other special things about F.E.A.S.T., some of which even members may not know, as our members are caregivers with a lot on their minds!
One is that we are all volunteer: fellow parents and other supporters like leading clinicians and advocates and patient advocates. No one is paid, there is no office or big infrastructure to pay for. Our services and materials are not amateur, however, we hold very high standards for what information we share and the way experience is shared between peers.
Another thing you should know is that F.E.A.S.T. is independent: we neither solicit nor accept donations or sponsorships from treatment providers or companies that sell products to families: that's almost unique in the ED advocacy realm and it matters. In a field with many well-meaning and passionate but ungrounded treatments we do not want to be part of influencing parents in their treatment choices on anything but efficacy. We empower parents with information and evidence to enable them to make good choices on where and how their loved ones get care.
We are collaborative. F.E.A.S.T. is an active partner in initiatives and projects done by other organizations. We participate in conferences, co-write materials, and encourage our members to get involved regionally and nationally and internationally.
We operate according to principles, and under the guidance and oversight of our Board of Directors and our Advisory Panel. Our principles tell you what you need to know about our values, our focus, and our direction.
I'm very proud to have been part of the founding of F.E.A.S.T., and extremely proud to spread the word about our work!