Doris and Tom Smeltzer, a California couple that has traveled across the nation to raise awareness about eating disorders since losing their 19-year-old daughter to bulimia in 1999, will visit SUNY Cortland on Wednesday, Feb. 25. Their talk will be preceded by a brief, candlelight vigil.
Their talk, “Andrea’s Voice,” is sponsored by the Health Promotion Office and the Student Development Center in recognition of Body Appreciation Week, which runs from Monday, Feb. 23, to Friday, Feb. 27, and features a series of events.
SUNY Cortland’s 2015 Body Appreciation Week is intended to promote body awareness and acceptance. Events on the theme of “March to the Beat of Your Own Drum” are presented as part of the College’s 17th annual weeklong celebration.
The programs are free and open to the public.
The Smeltzers’ daughter Andrea died in her sleep after a one-year struggle with bulimia. Andrea’s parents will share her compelling story as well as vital information on eating disorders in a talk titled “Andrea’s Voice: Silenced by Bulimia” at 7 p.m. in the Corey Union Function Room. A candlelight vigil, sponsored by Delta Phi Epsilon, will precede the event. A book signing will follow.
It is estimated that as many as 25 percent of college-aged women deal with disordered eating habits of some kind, if not necessarily full-blown anorexia or bulimia, said Cathy Smith, the College’s health promotion educator.
The Smeltzers’ talk will focus on eating disorders, from a daughter’s insights to a parent’s perspective.
Andrea Smeltzer was a vibrant and promising young woman, an exemplary student with a passion for life that made an impression on everyone she knew, her mother said. A Napa, Calif., resident for most of her life, Andrea spent a year living abroad in Spain and was fluent in the language by the time she graduated from Vintage High School in 1997.
At the prestigious Pitzer College, where she was an active presence on campus, she managed to complete her undergraduate degree in international studies by the end of her sophomore year. After college, she hoped to use her degree to work with humanitarian agencies like Amnesty International.
After a 13-month struggle with bulimia, Andrea died in her sleep on June 16, 1999, when an electrolyte imbalance caused her heart to fail.
Also during Body Appreciation Week:
The College’s Body Appreciation Week is sponsored by Counseling and Student Development, Auxiliary Services Corporation (ASC), the President’s Office, the Vice President for Student Affairs, Residence Life and Housing, the Health Promotion Office, the Student Health Service, Delta Phi Epsilon, Alpha Phi Omega, Eta Sigma Gamma, Alpha Sigma Alpha, Sigma Delta Tau, Kappa Sigma, LFL, WOC, MOVE, Campus Activities and Corey Union, ASC Nutrition Services, Student Activities Board and Recreational Sports.
The Smeltzers’ talk also is part of “Wellness Wednesdays” at SUNY Cortland, a yearlong series of featured speakers, exhibits, self-help workshops and other programs intended to help students adjust to college life.
For more information about Body Appreciation Week, Wellness Wednesdays, or to request physical accommodation for an individual with a disability to attend an event, contact Catherine Smith, the College’s health educator in the Health Promotion Office, Van Hoesen Hall, Room B-1, or at 607-753-2066.