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  • Hoboken Girl of the Week: Jessica Hickman {of National Eating Disorders Association}

    When Jessica Hickman was in middle school and high school, she knew that her relationship with food and her body wasn’t normal, but she also didn’t think it was a problem. But about halfway through her freshman year of college, she felt like her world was spinning out of control.

    My eating disorder had become debilitating in every way – socially, emotionally and physically. I wasn’t out having fun like my roommates. I was lying to my boyfriend. And I was afraid to talk to my parents or anyone else about it,” she recalled. 

    Ultimately, Jessica reached out to her parents for help, and she was admitted to treatment the same week she moved back from college. Recovery was a multi-year process with obstacles along the way, but as she openly shares, “I’m a stronger person because of it. I no longer spend my days at war with body. And now, I’m able to use my personal journey to make an impact.” And quite an impact she’s making. As the Walk Manager of NEDA {the National Eating Disorders Association}, she creates awareness and shares knowledge daily on this issue that affects so many women and men across the country. That’s why today we’re sharing her story and her mission working with NEDA. So without further ado, we’re pleased to introduce our Hoboken Girl of the Week.

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    What is the goal of NEDA?

    NEDA stands for National Eating Disorders Association, and we are the leading U.S. non-profit for providing support to individuals and their loved ones affected by eating disorders. NEDA advocates for prevention, early intervention, research, and access to quality care for eating disorders.

    How did you get involved with NEDA?

    I became involved with NEDA after overcoming an eating disorder. I was a two-time volunteer NEDA Walk coordinator in my college town. I wanted to give back to an organization that was there for me and to spread awareness on a subject that was once even hard for me to talk about. It was an experience that challenged and thrilled me and also inspired me to do more. Now fast forward, and I am the National Walk Manager at NEDA where I am overseeing 65 city walk campaigns and supporting the dedicated walk coordinators who make it all possible! It’s a dream.

    What is the most rewarding part of your job?

    I love working with volunteers across the country who are all so passionate about the same thing. I get to build meaningful relationships with all of our walk coordinators and help them make their vision a reality in their community.

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    What does the walk serve to do?

    The New York City NEDA Walk {with National Walk Sponsor Aerie by American Eagle Outfitters} is on Sunday, October 2nd at Foley Square. We will be walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to raise awareness for eating disorders. The walk will also raise vital funds to support NEDA’s lifesaving programs –like our Helpline, Online Screening Tool, and The Body Project (a body positive program for students that is proven to reduce the onset of eating disorders). {Editor’s note: Hoboken Girl is also a proud sponsor!}

    NEDA Walks are inspirational, community-building events. We walk to support individuals and families affected by eating disorders and to ensure that they know they are not alone. Help is available and recovery is possible.

     

     

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    So of course we had to ask this Hoboken Girl of the Week our infamous questions — so here they are:

    What is your favorite restaurant in Hoboken?

    I love Otto Strada. It’s my #1. The manager was even awesome enough to donate a gift certificate to raffle at the NEDA Walk!

    What is your favorite boutique in Hoboken?

    I can’t not buy something at Washington General Store.

    What do you love most about Hoboken?

    The energy, the views, and being able to walk everywhere. And the selection of quality coffee shops. That’s important.

    What is your favorite thing to do in Hoboken?

    Weekend walks around town with coffee, trying different restaurants, and takeout and TV nights with my sister.

    How long have you lived and/or worked in Hoboken?

    After 2+ years of living vicariously through my sister, I am officially a Hoboken resident. It’s been 4 months, and it already feels like home.

    What is your favorite outdoor place to spend time in Hoboken?

    I’ve enjoyed spending time at Pier A Park this summer and also just walking along the waterfront.

    Where do you go out with friends in Hoboken?

    I’m still exploring, but Pier 13 is always fun! Favorite happy hour is still TBD.

    What is something you think needs to come to Hoboken?

    Like most, I am counting down until the opening of Trader Joe’s! I also wouldn’t be opposed to more rooftop bars/restaurants. And maybe a fun doughnut place. 

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    How can people in Hoboken help NEDA?

    Hoboken can join the fight against eating disorders by participating in the walk or showing support through donation! Everybody knows somebody affected by an eating disorder.

    Register or donate online for the NEDA Walk at www.nedawalk.org/nyc2016.

     

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    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HobokenGirl.com. She started the site 5 years ago to discover the wealth of fun things happening in Hoboken and Jersey City and surrounding Hudson County areas. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event or #HobokenGirlHelps volunteer project, she can usually be found shopping at local Hoboken + Jersey City boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog Pierre, or watching some really bad {but oh-so-good} reality TV and ordering takeout with her husband.


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