The Mission: To help empower and support women in recovery from an eating disorder
The Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/livefreefighter/
How: Through LuLaRoe clothing company, and through generous donations by customers
Who: Brooke Heberling; Founder- eating disorder survivor, Live Free Fighter bridge-to-beauty director, and sales marketer
Jana Troskie; Co-Founder- LuLaRoe Independent Fashion Consultant, director of donations, sales director
Jessica Palmer; Co-founder- LuLaRoe Independent Fashion Consultant, director of hostess recruitment and development
Who Benefits: Manna Fund (www.mannafund.org), women struggling to accept body changes in treatment centers, and also women who are home and trying to stay strong in recovery
How to Donate: Manna Fund- paypal.me/MannaFund Leggings for a girl in treatment- PayPal.Me/LuLaRoeJanaTroskie
I am a recovering anorexic with purging tendencies: I struggled with restriction, purging, and over-exercise for 16 years before I sought help due to the fact that I was slowly dying. The past year, from February to July, I was at The Carolina House in Durham, NC; Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders in Atlanta, GA; and Manna Treatment Center in Lawrenceville, GA …While at the Carolina House in inpatient treatment, I was struggling greatly with accepting my changing body. I had to gain weight, and it was hard to handle both mentally and physically. About 4 weeks into treatment, my clothes began to be too small. This was detrimental to my progression and belief in the process because I felt so bad about my inability to fit in my clothes. My clothes were my scale- they were always how I judged my body shape and weight; this is a common theme among women in recovery, I have discovered. When I went to my counselor to tell her that my clothes did not fit, the steps that followed next were really hard on my confidence… I had to get approved to buy new clothes, then I had to sign up on a list to make a special trip to the store, and the RPAs had to double up that evening to have enough people to take me to Target to pick out clothes… Although they tried to make it as nonchalant and easy as possible, I was an anxious mess. I was not in the mental state to go shopping in a busy Target on a Friday night and having to be walked through racks and observed trying on clothing... I felt ashamed and embarrassed. I also had no money to buy anything… My family was running on one income because of me being gone, and we had hundreds of medical bills and treatment fees, so buying a pair of sweats meant more debt for my husband and two kids. I already felt bad about needing new clothes due to gaining weight, now finances were added to the guilt. If that wasn’t enough, there was nothing flattering in stock in my size at that moment, so I ended up getting a pair of sweats on the clearance rack. Needless to say, I walked out of the store feeling defeated and angry- I was mad at the process and ashamed to be gaining.
When one is in recovery from an eating disorder, body acceptance is usually the last piece to the recovered puzzle. When I got home from The Carolina House, my counselors had suggested that I throw away/give away all my clothing. They were my sick clothes- they had to go so I would not be tempted to use behaviors to fit into them. I was a month out of treatment, I had no money to rebuild my wardrobe, and I was not feeling good about myself and my changing body. While at ACE in Atlanta, I was gifted with a discounted outfit from my friend Jana Troskie who is a consultant for the growing company LuLaRoe. I didn’t have to go to the store; she put an outfit together for me in my size and sent me it in the mail. When I opened the package, there was a note attached that said, “You are beautiful”. And when I put it on, I felt it. The outfit was a pair of leggings (one size fits all) and an Irma (a long, loose fitting shirt that did not cling ANYWHERE!- super important for a recovering woman!). I got involved with the company by sharing my story of recovery and how the clothes had helped me feel beautiful and confident in my new and changing body. After hearing my story, consultants such as Jana and others started sending me beautiful pieces FOR FREE! Since my family was in such bad financial shape from the financial blow of treatment, I did not have money to rebuild my wardrobe- each free piece of beautiful clothing was not only helping my wallet, but it was helping my confidence in my new body. I had never liked clothes or enjoyed getting dressed in the morning… quite the opposite actually… but all of the sudden I was excited to put on my comfy and flattering outfits of bright colors and fun prints! About a month after I received my first outfit, I started dreaming- what if every woman in recovery could feel this good in her new body? What is every woman in treatment could be comfortable and confident in her clothes so she can focus on the important issues like nourishing her body and healing her mind?
So I talked to Jana about creating a Live Free Fighter Pop-Up; it is a forum to sell clothes to women, and offer them a chance to donate to the Manna Fund (a non-profit organization that provides financial help to women and men in treatment) at the end of the sale, and also donate a pair a leggings for a woman in treatment. The money donated will go to the Manna Fund, but the leggings will be collected and donated to treatment centers around the United States that will be willing to give them to girls needing new clothes while healing in treatment. My ultimate vision is when a girl goes to her counselor in treatment and says “I can’t fit in my clothes”, her counselor can pull out a pair of leggings, no strings attached, and gift her with the comfort and confidence she needs without having to send her to Target on an embarrassing and humiliating ordeal to try on clothes she is not ready to accept and might not be able to afford.
What I want and need from you- permission to collect leggings to send to your treatment center. I would love to partner with you currently, or in the future, to help soften the blow of acceptance of changing bodies in treatment centers by taking the “task and hassle” out of the equation and gifting women with what LuLaRoe calls “buttery soft” leggings that are one size and a confidence boosting treat to all women who wear them. Below I will attach some pictures and testimonies of people we have already gifted with the leggings. Thank you for your time and consideration of this vision and ministry.