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Ophelia’s Place makes debut at SADA Charity Preview

— This year, for the first time, Ophelia’s Place has the opportunity to participate in one of Syracuse’s premiere charity events.

The Syracuse Auto Dealers Association will host their 15th annual Charity Preview starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13. In 2012, the event raised $213,000, bringing the all-time total to more than $2 million.

“The non-profits do not incur any cost associated with this, so it is a wonderful opportunity to use this event to help fill the gaps in our budget,” said Jodie Wilson-Dougherty, executive director of Ophelia’s Place. “Our time and energy are all in trying to sell tickets. SADA does all the work on logistics.”

The Liverpool-based center focuses on improving body image, discussing a new concept of beauty and providing a safe haven for those struggling with and recovering from eating disorders and their loved ones. It offers numerous support groups, including a co-ed group, a Coffee Talk series and more. Ophelia’s Place opened a café, Café at 407, in the space in order to raise money and help spread the word of its mission.

Ophelia’s Place was nominated to participate in the event by a member of the community. A selection committee then met with its staff and determined that they should be among those charities to benefit from the show. If they sell at least 100 tickets, they’ll be eligible to return next year.

“We hope this will be an annual fundraiser that can provide us much-needed resources to continue our efforts toward changing culture and helping to prevent dangerous attitudes and behaviors that can lead to life-threatening illnesses,” Wilson-Dougherty said.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. The peak onset of eating disorders occurs during puberty and the late teen/early adult years, but symptoms can occur as young as kindergarten and as late as middle age. More than one in three normal dieters progresses to pathological eating habits. The most quoted study on the subject, which was completed in the mid-1990s, states that nearly 10 million females and 1 million males in the U.S. are battling eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, while millions more suffer from binge eating disorder.

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