Dear Friends and Family,
I just wanted to take the time to wish everyone a happy and blessed 2009. All of you have been in my thoughts and prayers over the past few months. I wanted to give everyone an update on what I have been up to. I have been working hard on my personal recovery and my life is a true miracle and blessing from God. Many have considered 2008 to be one of the most difficult years of my young life. However, I see it in a much different light. Though it was by far the toughest of years for me, and I found myself falling on my face repeatedly. It was a year of true growth and purpose.
My anorexia nervosa and substance abuse is a thing of my past and a part of my life, though it will never define me as a person or a Bergstrom. If anything, it has given my life balance, true meaning and purpose. I am healthier than I have ever been, both mentally and physically. I am also more spiritually connected than I have ever been. So I am writing this letter with a smile on my face and love in my heart. I wanted to thank everyone personally for their amazing love, support and prayers. I have been praying for each of you on a regular basis. I have been told by many that I have accomplished a lot in the past year in the field of eating disorders. This is not a surprise because I am a Bergstrom, and we get things done. However, there is still much work to be done, and I will continue to acquire the help from other great people/organizations to make a real difference. We can and will never give up! My story is going to be published (my first publication) next month in Hagerstown Magazine, and might be in GQ Magazine in the coming months. People have used the words to describe my work as being a hero and a rock star. However, I just see it as me being “Patty.” I give all the glory to God, and know I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the amazing support from my family and friends. I am now very humble and enjoy the simple things in life. I was broken but never defeated, and giving up was never an option for me. My parents have been a true blessing in my life, my career, and my recovery. Dad and I still butt heads frequently but it is only out of love and fun.
I have now turned my outreach program (www.ichosetolive.com) into an LLC, and am running my own support organization. My program is based on creative athletic principles and stands to make a huge impact in the world we live in today. I do understand that not everyone is affected by an eating disorder, but everyone can relate to the pressures of body image and failure. For me I Chose To Live, simply means I wake up every day, and live better than the previous. Nothing will ever be perfect but striving for excellence is more than attainable. I now live my life for others and fight to help those who are still struggling in silence. I have recently organized an Eating Disorder Awareness College Campaign where I will be traveling all over the country and speaking to college students and athletes. The tour kicks off at the University of Maryland on February 16th. In late February, I will be in Atlanta, Georgia speaking at 3 universities, and a private high school. (Georgia State, Georgia Tech, etc) From there I will be traveling on to Texas and then off to Long Beach California. I was invited to speak on a panel in California for The International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals Conference. Apparently, this is a really big deal, though I am just excited to be able to help in any way I can. Here is the link for the California event if anyone is interested. http://iaedpsocal.com/index.html
While in California, I will also be visiting one of the top treatment centers, and speaking to those patients in treatment. From there, I will be visiting other colleges and campuses throughout March and April. I have also designed I Chose To Live bands to market my organization and to provide awareness and education. You can check the bracelets out online at www.ichosetolive.com (I would love to send everyone a bracelet) My goal is to be able at some point to help others who can’t afford the needed treatment they so deserve. I have also joined up with the major eating disorder non-profits in the U.S. and will be working with them on organizing and participating in events to raise awareness and funding. The one organization that I fully support is the FREED Foundation, which helps those who can’t afford treatment. I will be in NYC next weekend for a benefit concert to help this organization. I am staying very busy and working on building a great and successful future. I am happier than ever, and truly blessed to have such a loving a supportive family. Thank you guys! I also took a lot of time off from the dating scene until I felt confident and healthy. I recently joined eHarmony, which really isn’t my style, but I was convinced by Ryan and Melissa. So apparently it works, as I met an awesome Christian girl, Candace, who I am now dating. She lives in Pittsburgh, and is an accountant. She is quite intelligent and very driven. She also supports what I am doing which is such a blessing. God truly works in mysterious ways and I am so fortunate and excited about this new journey in my life. Thank you again for all the love and support. May your 2009 be filled in abundance with love, joy, good health, and peace!