news-category: Campus News

‘Everybody Knows Somebody 5K’ to Benefit GWU Students Battling Eating Disorders

a runner participates in the 5K

Funds Allow Students to Remain on Campus While Accessing Local Treatment Services

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Gardner-Webb University Counseling Center is sponsoring the ninth annual “Everybody Knows Somebody 5K” on Saturday, March 20. Two start times are available this year, at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. for social distancing purposes. There is also an option to join the event virtually.

Funds raised from this event go specifically to help GWU students who need help battling eating disorders. The money they receive allows them to access local services, remain on campus during treatment, and receive assistance from The Counseling Center. “As a result of the Counseling Center hosting this event for the past nine years, we have been able to maintain a stable fund for students in need of eating disorder treatment,” noted Stephanie Allen, University counselor. “We have assisted multiple GWU students in getting treatment. These are students who otherwise would not have been able to access treatment due to lack of health insurance or non-coverage by their insurance company.”

A runner participates in the 5K.

Based on a study by Northumbrian University in England, nine out of 10 people with experience of eating disorders have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. These participants showed an increase in eating disorder symptoms as a result of the pandemic. The researchers found that those with eating disorders reported decreased feelings of control, increased feelings of social isolation, increased rumination about disordered eating, and low feelings of social support.

This research highlights how important having friends and staying connected is for a person who is struggling with an eating disorder. “A friend can best support a loved one who has an eating disorder by encouraging them to seek professional help,” Allen observed. “Outside of this, it’s important to be there for them. Support them on their good days, and their bad days.”

For more information about eating disorders, visit

Register for the 5K, or go here to register for the virtual 5K.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 working days prior to the event. Please call (704) 406-4270 or email [email protected] with your request.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at

A woman and two girls wait for the 5K to begin.

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