The 2001 Big As TEXAS assembly opened in Houston Texas on March 16.
This year's theme was "Taking Care of Ourselves."
As an "ice breaker" activity this year, we had a human scavenger hunt.
Dinner tables acted as teams to ferret out the people described in
each of twelve questions. For example, "Who went to Brazil as a missionary?"
Another question was "Who was misidentified in a tabloid as Carnie
Wilson?" The winning tables shared an Easter basket full of goodies.
Left: Sharon and Jay at the registration table, waiting to
pass out name tags and greet attendees. Photo by Ray Hackney.
Following dinner, we had the Fashion Show.
C. J. Schoenrock, of Lubbock,
Texas, was the MC. There were seven participating vendors and
approximately 65 outfits were shown.
Saturday morning began with a 9:00 A.M. movement activity: Aerobics for
Larger Bodies. Fitness instructor Melissa Taylor led this session.
Melissa is certified by the American Council on Exercise, and teaches a
Women of Size Class at Women's Hospital Fitness Center in her home town
of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was joined by Elizabeth and Hope
(also of Louisiana), who demonstrated stretching and light aerobic
exercises, and then the entire class joined in. A wonderful time was had
by all the participants!
Right: Melissa Taylor, teacher of the "aeorbics for large bodies"
workshop, atop an exercise ball, called a "Fit Ball." Photo courtesy of
Women of Size Fitness Class, Baton Rouge, LA.
At 10:00 A.M., Terry Lawler Early, of Sour Lake, Texas, moderated a
panel on the topic of Living with Diabetes. She was joined by Susie
Gillis, from Washington State, and Jay Early, from Sour Lake, Texas.
They each discussed how they controlled their blood sugar, including
(perhaps most importantly) what to do when blood sugar appeared
uncontrollable. ADA handouts were available to attendees.
At 11:00 A.M., C. J. Schoenrock of Lubbock, Texas, moderated a panel on
Patient Advocacy. C. J. was joined by Lisa and Paul Delacroix, also from
Texas. C. J. recently went through several surgeries and researched the
needs of fat patients in preparation. Paul is a former EMT and Lisa is
an ER nurse. The workshop covered issues related to advocating for
ourselves and others to ensure that we receive the best medical
treatment. Topics included how to find a fat-friendly doctor, concerns
about emergency medical services, speaking up for yourself and others,
and common health concerns of large patients during surgery.
Left: C. J. Schoenrock, facilitator of the Patient Advocacy
workshop. Photo by Melody Davis.
A group of computer pals meet up at Big As TEXAS. Photo
by Anne Kaplan.
From 12:30 to 2:00 P.M. attendees were given the opportunity to see the
Osbourn Fat-a-bilia Collection. B. Neil Osbourn, of Avon, Connecticut,
has been collecting fat-a-bilia of all kinds for 30 years. He brought a
portion of his collection that included figurines, pictures, magazine
ads, greeting cards, and books. This was a wonderful treat for
At 2:00 P.M. Jay Early facilitated a workshop on Sleep Apnea. Jay was
diagnosed with sleep apnea over 15 years ago, before the advent of C-Pap
machines. He underwent several invasive surgeries trying to correct the
problem, and eventually became a Guinea pig in the early testing of
breathing machines. Undiagnosed sleep apnea is now thought to be the
cause of several major problems, including heart problems and sudden
infant death. Attendees had a chance to ask questions and share
Left: Jay Early, facilitator of the Sleep Apnea workshop. Shown
here "no doubt looking for trouble," according to Terry. Photo by
At 3:00 P.M. Marleen Bergeron and Nora Mills facilitated the Retaining
Mobility workshop. Marleen is a staff nurse in Pediatric Intensive Care
in Chalmette, Louisiana. Nora is a writer/educator from Avon,
Connecticut. This session aimed at teaching attendees how to retain
mobility by increasing activity level on a daily basis, how to ensure
stronger bones, and how to achieve a better target heart range. It also
touched on the importance of annual exams.
Living with Limitations was the last workshop of the day, led by Diane
Roscoe and Roland Van Denderen, both of Houston, Texas. Roland has been
disabled since birth, while Diane was disabled in 1994. They shared on
their adjustments to living life in a wheel chair, and the accommodations
they needed to make to live a life together.
Right: Roland Van Denderen and Diane Roscoe, facilitators of the
Living with Limitations workshop. Photo by Anne Kaplan.
Saturday evening, attendees were treated to a sirloin strip dinner (12
ounces!). Following dinner we had our keynote address.
Mr. Fabrey founded the first size acceptance organization, the National
Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (formerly called the National
Association to Aid Fat Americans) in 1968. He was a founder and is a
current board member of the Council on Size and Weight Discrimination, a
regular columnist for Radiance Magazine, and the co-owner of AmpleStuff,
a mail order company that specializes in serving the needs of larger
Following Mr. Fabrey's talk, we danced the night away.
Left: Terry Early with keynote speaker William J. Fabrey.
Photo by Melody Davis.
The Big As TEXAS assembly concluded Sunday morning with brunch and a less
formal talk by our keynote speaker. Mr. Fabrey talked about personal
activism, including what individuals might do to celebrate International
No Diet Day, which will be nine years old on May 6, 2001.
Right: Bill Fabrey addressing the audience in an informal talk on Sunday
morning. Photo by Ray Hackney.
Next year the assembly will take place in Dallas.
Sharon and Terry, both exhausted, after the event had
ended on Sunday. Photo by Anne Kaplan.