#TheReasonIGive: I Don’t Want Any Other Person Affected by Obesity to Feel Alone
by Patty Nece, JD, OAC Board Member
A few years ago, Dr. Scott Kahan, my obesity specialist, asked me to attend two roundtables being held by the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance. One was about helping primary care physicians treat people for obesity and the other was about improving the way healthcare professionals talk to patients with obesity. He asked me to listen to the discussion and comment from the “patient perspective” if something occurred to me.
I was both excited and apprehensive about participating. My excited side thought this could be a really cool thing to do. I’d never met (or even heard of) a whole group of people who cared about obesity! But my apprehensive side asked all sorts of questions. What could I contribute? What if others thought my comments were silly? What if no one else affected by obesity shared my views?
Despite my fears, I plunged in. Turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made! It was there I learned about the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) from Ted Kyle, a past Chairman of the OAC’s Board of Directors. For the first time I realized I was not alone. OAC and its members understood what it was like to live in a society that ridicules and shames people with excess weight. They also understood that treatments for obesity must be improved.
Within weeks, I joined the OAC and found a passion for fighting weight bias and stigma in all its many forms. OAC gave me a platform for fighting bias by sharing my own personal story of living with obesity my entire life. I now Chair OAC’s Weight Bias Task Force and serve on the National Board of Directors. And OAC’s incredibly supportive community continually energizes me and supports me in my own weight-management journey.
I give to OAC because I don’t want any other person affected by obesity to feel alone. OAC is advocating for you every day. And you have friends in the OAC community – people who know and understand what it’s like to struggle with obesity and the many issues it can cause.