A select group of ERC alumni and family members have been invited to serve on our Recovery Ambassador Council. Our Council members have come forward to share their personal recovery story as a way to help destigmatize and normalize eating disorders and mental health issues. These passionate members speak from the heart and inspire hope for full recovery.
Members of the Recovery Ambassador Council are available for speaking opportunities in education settings and to various audiences.*
How can you get involved? Join Team Recovery!
You don't have to be a member of the Recovery Ambassador Council to be an advocate for eating disorder recovery. If you would like to join our movement to increase awareness, remove stigma and inspire hope that full and lasting recovery from eating disorders is possible, click here to learn about how you can become a member Team Recovery and join us in making a difference.
Get to know the Recovery Ambassador Council
Ana speaks on behalf of Insight Behavioral Health program that partners with ERC. This program helped Ana recover from Bipolar II disorder as well as severe anxiety. As an ambitious 31-year-old native of Trinidad, she looks forward to educating and inspiring others towards recovery!
“In recovery I realized that my world could fall apart around me, and I did not have to fall with it. I learned the skills that gave me the strength to remain standing through it all. And I am still standing.”
Shay is a husband, father and engineer. He lives with his wife, 3 kids, 2 cats and a large dog! In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, biking, hunting, skiing, aviation, SCUBA diving and just about anything that involves exploration, discovery and adventure! A punk rocker at heart, Shay also enjoys rocking out with his kids and playing his real (or air) guitar. Shay is a survivor of Anorexia Nervosa and enjoys giving the gifts of hope and strength to others. He also feels that it is vitally important to destigmatize mental illnesses in the eyes of society and normalize their treatment as one would seek treatment for any other disease.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is not always visible from where you are right now. However, choose to have faith that it does exist. Stand in that faith in order to take committed action each day that will support and further develop your recovery. Finally, recognize that a perfect recovery does not exist.”
David speaks as a parent on behalf of the ERC Denver Child & Adolescent program. His 15-year old son is in recovery from anorexia. David and his wife are advocates in the recovery community. David recently spoke on a panel with Dr. Bermudez at the National Eating Disorders Association conference this fall, and received overwhelming positive feedback.
“As a parent, trusting my son’s recovery is the biggest challenge. Believing in him is unconditional. Accepting this as a truth is a commitment. Love, support, and encouragement is everlasting.”
San Antonio, TX
Eric speaks on behalf of the ERC San Antonio Program. As a gifted speaker, (check out his TEDx talk!), he thrives when using his creativity and talents to inspire and help others put a face to recovery. After a long battle with his eating disorder through his adolescent years, Eric has been in solid recovery for the past 6 years. As an LGBTQ male, he looks forward to speaking with all populations, but is passionate about destigmatizing the presence of eating disorders in males.
“I'm not just recovering from the eating disorder, I'm recovering all the parts of myself I thought were unacceptable and discovering a life worth living!”
Kelli speaks on behalf of the ERC Denver program. Her inspirational story of recovery from alcoholism and anorexia challenges others, especially hard-working mothers like herself to bravely seek support along the way. Kelli has participated in media opportunities and was featured in our “ERC Story” video posted on our website. Kelli considers the council to be the “next step” in her recovery, as she is ready to “give back” to others. She offers the message that recovery is possible and life-giving, despite the obstacles that may come.
“The grips of shame and pursuits of perfectionism held me back from truly living while I was in my eating disorder. They are gone now that I’ve found recovery! Recovery has given me true freedom!”
Sunnie Gruwell resides in Houston, Texas with her husband and six children. Her faith in Jesus Christ is very important to her and the strength that comes from those beliefs has helped her family make it through whatever trials they have faced. She has immense gratitude for the life-saving treatment her oldest daughter received at the Eating Recovery Center in Denver, Colorado, and recognizes the extremely important role that caregiver knowledge and education play in the treatment of adolescents with eating disorders. Her continued support for her daughter reinforces the reality that recovery is not a one-time event, but a journey. She admires the strength, resilience, and growth her daughter has shown as she battles her eating disorder, and greatly appreciates the ERC for equipping her family with the tools needed to feel empowered in their fight.
“Successful mothers are not the ones that have never struggled. They are the ones that never give up, despite the struggles.” - Sharon Jaynes"
Savannah speaks on behalf of the ERC Denver Program. In her recovery, she desires to give back to the therapy community by becoming a child play therapist. She accompanied Eric Dorsa, Jenni Schaefer and Candice Cameron Bure on May 3rd in New York City in an effort to contribute to Eating Recovery Day’s nation-wide awareness and education efforts.
"We don't stop fighting because it's hard. We keep fighting because it's worth it."
Andy speaks publicly to educate and destigmatize not just for BED patients but all those afflicted with an ED. He is passionate about the need for public awareness, education, and proactive treatment of eating disorders and mental illness in general. Due to having lived most his life undiagnosed, Andy feels that his struggle could have been lessened had any one of the number of professionals responsible for his childhood development been eduactated properly in mental illness awareness. For that reason, he is driven to push for programming to help identify such issues in children early on in life. He also supports the effort to promote acceptance of the FACT that males often deal with the horror of eating disorders.
"An enemy that thrives off its own anonymity, misunderstanding, and shame mongering can only be fought through, proactive enlightenment, education, and acceptance."
Joanna speaks on behalf of the ERC California Program. Her passions include eating disorder awareness and prevention as well as cancer research and prevention. She lives life authentically and joyfully, and in doing so, shares her story of recovery hope along the way. In recovery from anorexia, she was able to recognize her worth and personal value and recently shared that on the Dr. Oz show.
"We are told as young children that there is no re-do button in life. I beg to differ. Recovery, is like being able to hit the reset button of your life. While it may not change your past, it allows your past to not dictate your future. It has allowed me to look at life through different glasses. It has shown me that I am worthy of a life filled with connection, love, and adventure. That I am more than enough, simply by living my life authentically true and aligned with my values. My recovery journey started when I decided I wanted my story to have a different ending. You have the chance to hit your reset button and rewrite the end to your own story. Let go, be free."
* Note: Recovery Ambassador Council Members are not treatment professionals and do not provide mental health services. Their role is to bring awareness and education to communities about the dangers of eating disorders, mental illness, how to talk to a loved one, and to provide resources to those affected to get the help they need. All Council Members are trained by ERC staff to be a knowledgeable, informal source of education, support and guidance to those who are interested in eating disorder and mental health support and education. All Council Members are volunteers and are not endorsed by ERC for any activity or service outside of pre-approved council duties. Additionally, the accuracy of any information or the exclusion of any triggering material is the responsibility of each individual speaker.