The photo that you see is of Kim proudly displaying a tattoo on her arm that reads "be your own kind of beautiful", a daily reminder of the strength that she possesses and the obstacles she has overcome. But like any mental health disease it is a battle she will continue to fight.
Kim has always been a passionate advocate for the need to de-stigmatize anorexia. Time and time again she
has stood tall and told her story to a group of strangers to help shed light on a rising epidemic in our culture. She has brought hope and inspiration to those suffering and brought awareness to a mental health crisis that many are too ashamed to talk about.
For as long as I have known her, Kim has always had one goal: to bring awareness and raise money for eating disorders. She has put on benefit concerts and raised money for treatment clinics such as Homewood Health and support Centres like Sheena's Place that is a community based outreach program for those suffering from ED. Kim has selflessly dedicated her life to helping others and now is the time that she needs an army behind her to overcome one of the greatest obstacles she will face.
Kim has relapsed and was hospitalized 13 days ago and placed on a feeding tube as she had not eaten or drank in 8 days. That smiling, strong woman has been taken over by her disease and she is fighting... in true Kim style. The team of doctors and mental health professionals are working to stabilize her and transition to an eating disorder treatment program when there is a bed available. Unfortunately, Kim has been denied OHIP coverage for her care, due to a severe lack of funding from the provincial government, and must pay for her treatment. Treatment is paramount to the survival of those suffering with anorexia to the extent that Kim is suffering. One in ten people suffering from anorexia die within ten years of the onset of their disease (Sullivan, P. (2002). Course and outcome of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. In Fairburn, C. G. & Brownell, K. D. (Eds.). Eating Disorders and Obesity (pp. 226-232). New York, New York: Guilford.)
Treament at a privatised facility such as the Homewood Health Centre in Guelph can cost upwards of $7,000/month with most patients requiring a minimum of three months of round the clock care. Not only is there a severe lack of provinicial funding for those suffering from ED but there is a limited amount of space for patients even at privatised clinics and Kim has personally had friends die waiting for the care they so desperately need.
The elephant in the room: An eating disorder is not something you choose. It is not about attention or body image. It is a mental health epidemic that is effecting up to 1% of women in all stages of life. The only choice you can make as someone who is suffering from such a powerful and consuming disease is the choice to fight. The choice to live. And there must be adequate care accessible when someone reaches out and asks for help.
I am asking you to open your heart and your minds and help break down the walls that stigmatize those suffering from ED. Speak out for those who are suffering in silence. I am asking you to please, please donate whatever you can to help Kim cover the cost of the treatment she so desperately needs. Her life depends on it.
**Any and all funds raised that surpass the cost of her treatment at Homewood Health Clinic will be donated To Sheena's Place in Toronto.
- Bev Killen
- Janice Dunlop
- Lisa Park
- Dana Pelsone
- Bob Griffith
Organizer and beneficiary
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