Eating Disorder Awareness Week: Local teen shares her story

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DENVER — Eating disorders (EDs) have the highest mortality rate of any mental problem, especially for children under the age of 18.

FOX31’s focus on Eating Disorder Awareness Week sheds light on a teenager who has come a long way after being hospitalized for her struggles with food.

“In 7th and 8th grade is when the symptoms really started to manifest,” Cora Galpern said.

In 2015, Galper spent most of her time at the Eating Disorder Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado to participate in a five-week program. She was in the hospital from 7 a.m to 7 p.m.

“I was eating six Ritz crackers a day,” Galpern said.

Galpern’s weight was down and her heart rate was at dangerous levels.

“They saw the color fade from my skin, just a more… hollow appearance. My eyes — they said were baggy and kind of empty,” Galpern said.

Cora is not alone. There is an entire floor dedicated to the treatment of eating disorders at the  Colorado Children’s Hospital.

“These are really severe illnesses,” Dr. Guido Frank with Children’s Hospital Colorado said. “The earlier you detect the illness and the earlier you start with the treatment, the better the outcome chance is.”

Dr. Frank works closely with Galpern and others in and out of the program. Galpern encourages anyone suffering from an eating disorder to see a professional.

“When we normalize them and make them seem like they are societal problems rather than medical issues, people don’t seek help,” Galpern said.

Galpern is now a senior in high school, set to go to college in the fall. She’ll be the first to tell you that her journey is far from over.

“I’m not there yet and no one ever really is there, but I’m definitely closer than I was four years ago,” Galpern said. “I would consider myself now — this sounds cheesy — but… on a path to becoming the happiest and healthiest I could be.”

Read more about eating disorders on the American Psychiatric Association website.

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