LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Absolute tyranny. That's how a Lawrence woman describes her eating disorder. She says she had more than 80 hospital stays and two hospice stays. Danielle Buettner has survived and now wants to create a refuge for others with eating disorders.
"My name is Danielle Lynn Buettner and I am anorexic," she said in a YouTube video.
Buettner weighed 56 pounds then at age 33. She says she started starving herself in childhood after being sexually abused. Her abuser used food to bribe her not to tell.
"It's like you're a prisoner, you know, you're a prisoner of yourself, of your emotions and everything and food happens to just be part of it," said Buettner.
She says that twice, she's had to be revived. From near death, she found a new life.
"I saw the hands of Christ and he spoke to me. I saw what heaven is. I had a taste of grace," she said.
In recovery now for more than four years, Buettner wants to open Taste of Grace Place in Lawrence. It would be a place unlike any other for people with eating disorders.
"I hate the word treatment even. I don't like that sound. I don't like facility. I don't institution," she said.
Buettner hopes to create a safe haven where people could come evenings and weekends.
"People with eating disorders, particularly in a college town, don't want to say anything and they don't know where to go for help," she said.
She envisions Taste of Grace as a place to talk and to express feelings through the arts. Buettner loves dance. She says fundraising to get the not-for-profit started and to rent space is a huge challenge, but "I know it will be accomplished because it needs to be accomplished."
Danielle Buettner, the survivor, will not be deterred.