October 2009: Megan Craysord-Noble
Raising Awareness of Eating Disorders
Megan Craysord-Noble, 17
Norfolk, England-based Megan Craysord-Noble launched the Fight to Live Campaign to raise awareness of eating disorders and the damage they can do. She started Fight to Live in response to "pro-ana" (anorexia) and "pro-mia" (bulimia) websites that actively promote eating disorders as a lifestyle choice, instead of recognizing them as dangerous illnesses. Megan talked with Teen Voices' Teresa DiViacchi about her work to highlight the dangers of eating disorders.
Teen Voices: Can you tell us about the Fight to Live Campaign? What is the goal?
Megan Craysord-Noble: It was launched in August 2007. It is a way to get the word out to teenage girls that eating disorders aren't cool, and of combating the images of size zeros that are in the media. Getting the word out about eating disorders, what they do and how they can destroy people's lives.
TV: Why eating disorders? Have you had a personal experience or witnessed the effects of eating disorders up close?
Megan: I know people who have had eating disorders, both male and female. And a lot of people sort of around school and college have had eating disorders. And there was actually a girl, at our college, who died a couple of years ago and I've been talking to her mother about it.
TV: What was involved with starting the campaign?
Megan: We made a MySpace page and it attracted over 3,000 people in the first six months. We made a Facebook page and now we have our own website. A lot of people e-mail me asking for advice, and we help in schools. We find out what people know about eating disorders, and then we form a system where people can talk about other problems as well.
TV: Have your friends and family become involved with the campaign as you continue to build and establish it?
Megan: My friends have. We have a group that works together on this project. [One] friend and I are mainly in charge, and I work with someone else on maintaining the website. There's a group of six of us that are working on it at the moment. My family is there to help out at the events, like concerts.
TV: Why did you choose to host a concert to promote your campaign?
Megan: It's a good way to get the message out to young people. It is something fun that involves young people performing and gets them involved.
TV: How was it organizing the concert?
Megan: It was hectic because there was a lot of stuff to organize a lot of stuff. And there were only two of us doing everything then, so it was very, very busy, but it was worth it. It was very rewarding.
TV: What was your favorite part?
Megan: My favorite part was seeing it all come together. Everything ran really smoothly in the end and everyone was having a good time. Through it all, my message about eating disorders was still there.
TV: What was the most difficult?
Megan: Trying to get everyone to be in the right place at the right time (laughs).
TV: How has this experience affected your view of promoting change in the world?
Megan: It is so rewarding when people take an interest, and when you see other people thinking about your cause. You realize that people can make change happen and that the more people there are, the more you can change the world. And it's brilliant having that force behind you, knowing that you all can make a difference.
TV: Are you involved with any other activist movements or have any intention of continuing being involved with activist movements?
Megan: I would like to continue the campaign and get involved with a larger eating disorder activist movement because it is something quite close to my heart. I think it is a very important and misunderstood issue. So I would definitely like to continue along the eating disorder lines. I don't know if I'll have a career in it, but I do hope to become a psychologist, maybe some kind of health professional for eating disorders.
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