Our Ambassadors

Ryan Branson: Ryan is originally from the United States. He graduated from the University of Missouri this past May with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition & Fitness. He currently doing my post-graduate study on a Master’s course in Eating Disorders & Clinical Nutrition at University College London (UCL).

Upon having an eating disorder himself, and recovering from it, a passion has developed for helping to increase awareness and improved treatment options for men with eating disorders. Ryan has been a guest public speaker on a number of occasions, discussing his own battle with an eating disorder and getting treatment (including how being a male impacted this). In addition, he speaks to promote awareness and support for men who struggle with eating disorders, as there is still a stigma present. He has also done volunteer work with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) as a trained ‘NEDA Navigator’, in which he provided online outreach and support to individuals struggling with an eating disorder.

Additionally, as a researcher he developed a study centred on exploring college students’ awareness of eating disorders in males. The results showed that female students had greater awareness of male EDs than did the male students, confirming that men themselves may not always realise that they have (or can have) an eating disorder and may not recognise their symptoms.

Through the role of ‘Ambassador’ for Men Get Eating Disorders Too, he hopes to bring his own passion and unique experiences to further promote awareness of male EDs and improve the quality of care men with EDs receive.

 

Steven Brown: Steven lives in the North East of England and is a graduate of Newcastle University, have studied human nutrition as an undergraduate and then public health at post graduate level, giving him an academic insight into the intrinsic connection between nutrition, health and well-being.

Although employed as a Nutritionist at the Nutricentre in Newcastle, Steven is the general secretary of a national charity; PINNT, which provides emotional and practical support to adults and children requiring artificial nutrition. In addition to his admin role, he frequently is asked to attend healthcare conferences , highlighting the work of the charity, as well as giving formal presentation on the patient experience of nutritional care.

Steven is passionate about raising awareness of eating disorders, particularly the increasing prevalence in men. This passion stems from his personal battle with anorexia for over 17 years. He now describes himself as firmly in recovery and feels the misconception that men do not suffer from eating disorders, both in the general public and more concerning by front line healthcare practitioners, like GPs, contribute to men not seeking and receiving the vital help they need.

Dave Chawner: Dave is an award winning comic who uses comedy to get people talking about more taboo topics.

Last year he toured a show about his battle with eating disorders.’Over It – Death, Anorexia & Other Funny Things’ aimed to make people think as well as laugh. Drawing on his own personal experience it aimed to raise awareness of male eating disorders.

Dave has struggled with anorexia since the age of 17. He is a proud and passionate campaigner for Men Get Eating Disorders Too speaking on TV, Radio and in the press about the complexities of the disease.

Having relapsed last year during the tour, he is currently working on a new show which focuses on life after anorexia to positively promote a more open discussion about male eating disorders.

Paul Donald: Paul Donald is a 24 year old musician living in the City of Aberdeen in Scotland. He turned to Men Get Eating Disorders Too initially in 2010 when he was coming to terms with his eating disorder. In January 2013 Paul relapsed badly and failed his fourth year at university.

In May 2013, Paul saw an advertisement for the Channel 4 documentary ‘Alex Brooker: My Perfect Body’ on the MGEDT Media Forum. Paul saw this opportunity to make a difference and at long last tell his struggles of how poor services were for males in Scotland.

Paul set up a Scottish Charity similar in values to MGEDT in July 2013. At present he is Chairman of the Men and Boys Eating and Exercise Disorders Service (Scotland). Paul will stand down as Chairman on 31 December 2014 to concentrate on campaigning for equality in healthcare of men and boys.

Paul went back to the University of Aberdeen and successfully completed his BMus (Hons) degree in Classical music.

Paul looks forward to broadening his campaigning in England and Wales as an MGEDT Ambassador ensuring that the voices of those in Scotland are heard just as equally in strengthening the provision available across the UK.

Craig Edwards: Craig’s personal interest in eating disorders, stems from his own  experience of bulimia which started when he was 14. The illnesss took hold of his life between 18-25. Following a diagnosis of depression and suicide attempt he was admitted to a mental health hospital for five weeks. The stigma that surrounded him opening up and discussing with family and friends, who had no idea of my eating disorder until his admission.

Craig works as a mental health nurse, (after seven years as a pub landlord.) He has worked in high security, medium, acute, and have witnessed young men struggle with an eating disorder first hand. He currently work in child and adolescent, and the private hospital which he is based, includes an mixed sex eating disorder unit, which gives him the opportunity too work close with male and female children at the same age, when he needed the help. He still witness the stigma that still surrounds male eating disorders. And the lack of knowledge that is so required for family and their carers.

In his own words Craig hopes to bring his experience of his past to MGEDT; to get the opportunity to speak out about his past, and hope that other men will come forward, and not be put of this by stigma and shame. He also wishes use his experience to help the charity grow and become more widespread.

Will De Spretter: Will made his recovery from Anorexia Nervosa following his “brush with death” and subsequent hospitalisation, having battled with his eating disorder during his early / late teens. Upon taking control of his recovery, Will succeeded in reversing the emotional and physical damage caused by his suffering, and whilst he is the first to admit that he will never truly “separate” himself from his eating disorder – believing that it is an integral part of his human make – up as a unique, deeply personal, natural response in surviving during times of adversity and addressing the many stresses life has to throw – is clear in his unwavering faith in the belief that it is this form of self – determination in the individual sufferer, which ultimately enables one to recognise the fact that eating disorders can be beaten.

In order to do this, Will focussed on turning the weaknesses of his eating disorder to his strength, and channelled both physical and mental afflictions of Anorexia into positive energy required to fuel his recovery. As a result, he succeeded in the self – taught completion of both GCSE and A – Level studies, has stood and campaigned as a political candidate in his local area, completed British Army selection and secured entry despite his eating disorder, in addition to using his communication and written skills in his attempts to communicate his own experience as a sufferer and recovered Anorexic, in educating governing mental health bodies throughout the United Kingdom by participating in written research and public speaking events.

Now, at the age of twenty two, Will continues to channel this energy by applying the same strength, discipline and determination to his much loved sporting activities in his strength and conditioning training, scheduled alongside his passion for both indoor and (Weather permitting!) open water swimming and describes these activities as his “reflective and redemptive sanctuary” that he once felt was only reachable through the lifeblood of his eating disorder. It is with this same passion, that he has committed himself to raising awareness in regards to the misunderstood and understated fact that ‘Men Get Eating Disorders Too’, and the recognition of what he views as being a shared vision amongst those who have recovered and those who continue to suffer within the confines of an eating disorder.

This vision consisting of the empowerment of the individual sufferer on their road to recovery; an end to profiling, stigma and stereotypes; a proper understanding in relation to coping mechanisms, management and successful treatment and, as a result, the physiological and psychological prosperity and comfort all human beings as unique individuals truly deserve.

Troy Roness (US Lead): Troy has become a nationally-acclaimed writer, voice, and advocate since his 2009 recovery from a life-threatening addiction to exercise and eating disorder after a guest appearance on the “Dr. Phil Show.”

He has been a dedicated national and international activist and educator for eating disorders, recovery, faith, LGBT issues, and healthy body image. Troy describes his motivation as “the simple act of paying his blessings forward.”

Troy serves as the Inaugural United States Male Representative for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Junior Board and two-term Secretary, Advisory Board Member for the National Association of Males with Eating Disorders (NAMED), Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) Team Lead for North Dakota, National Advisory Board Member and LGBT Liaison for Ophelia’s Place, Education Director for NORMAL in Schools, Inc. – North Dakota, and a featured speaker for Eating Disorder Hope. Previously, Troy executed duties as a former Advisory Board Member for the global eating disorders organization, MentorConnect, and Online Media Coordinator for the National Association of Males with Eating Disorders (NAMED).

With experience as an author, speaker, and advocate, Troy travels the country to speak on behalf of those affected by eating disorders and related issues to “put a name and face to the overwhelming issues affecting our generation, and strives to help others to make a difference.” He has a passionate voice for youth—helping to inspire, motivate, and foster hope.

With his conservative values and a strong desire for writing, Troy writes his own column in the Huffington Post, blogs for PBS’ “This Emotional Life”, authors a section in “Psychology Today,” and is partnered with Director/Producer Armand Mastroianni in various projects, including a feature-film project.

In addition to his role as a public presenter and advocate for conservative, health, and education issues, Troy has held numerous local and governmental offices in the state of North Dakota.

Troy completed his bachelor’s degree in Health & Physical Education (B.S.E.) in 2008, and has earned his master’s degree in Education, Cognitive Science & Mind/Brain Research (M.Ed., C/S) in 2012.

'Men Get Eating Disorders Too' is a registered charity in England and Wales no. 1139351.

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