by: Eric M. Kussin

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19 February 2019

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Long Beach State University 2/19

Last night we visited LBSU w former MLBer, & LBSU alum, Mike Marjama.

 

A very special night! I like to pick up diff things at each of the #SameHere Sit-Downs, & share my key takeaways.

 

Mike was an opening day starter, LAST season for the Seattle Mariners. Therefore he achieved being one of the top 30 in the world at what he did! That said, very little of his talk w the students focused on baseball.

 

He talked abt issues growing up, looking different, being rejected by girls…& how to take control of that situation back, he turned to food/his diet in an unhealthy way. Seeing pics of men in ads & the way women fawned over them based on their looks – their abs, their bodies, Mike started eating in a very unhealthy way, as he thought that would be his path towards taking back control – of the rejection.

 

It led to an unhealthy situation where his heart rate plummeted so much, he was admitted to the hospital, his life at risk.

 

Still he persevered & after many yrs in minor league baseball (making pennies & living in shared houses w multiple ppl in each room), he got his shot to play in the majors, & even start.

 

So why did a 29 yr old, still in his “prime” & a yr removed from starting opening day, decide to instead spend the rest of his life speaking abt eating disorders & MH overall? I loved the analogy he used: He has a new “North Star.” It’s pointing him in the direction of helping others, & while hitting a HR in front of thousands in stadium feels nice, having a fam w a child facing eating disorder issues come up & tell him his talk changed their lives more than any they’ve heard, far surpasses a HR. Amazing – the type of person we want on our Alliance team, in it for the right reasons. We’ll soon more formally share his #SameHere picture & story as a profile & on the website.

 

Huge props to our volunteers/team members: former pro b-ball player, licensed therapist, Jason Adkins, former college All-American, Gina Loretelli & renowned neuroscientist & brain health expert, Kristen Willeumier for an incredible panel.

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