This June, the Woodstone Residence, Canada’s first non-institutional residential centre for youth, that opened in April of 2011 on Galiano Island, is just about to welcome its 100th resident. To fully understand the significance of this milestone – one must look back to the beginning.
An eating disorder is not supposed to happen and yet it does all the same. It creeps up, silently taking over one life at a time. Like water its seeps into every corner, upending the planned story of a life for one of uncertainty. And it is terrifying. So when our daughters began to battle with “the illness that makes no sense” we came together to wage war right back.
Together, eyes wild and hearts breaking, we held the space for one another in an effort to steady ourselves. We took strength from each other and little by little, the anger we felt was replaced by something much stronger: determination.
Despite the efforts of the medical system in Canada, we had to look to the care available to our daughters in the USA. The 49th parallel is an imaginary line on the globe but one that meant the difference between hope and
despair for us. It was a messy, roller coaster experience but now that we had each other we questioned why the residential care model that dotted the country from coast to coast in the US, did not exist here in Canada. It was a good question and we committed ourselves to answering it.
Together, with our family and friends, people who had been through what we had, and those that had buried their children far before their time, we began to dream.
We dreamed that The Looking Glass Foundation would advocate for better service for people with eating disorders and better access to care all at a lesser cost than if a person was to go to the USA. We also dreamed of establishing the first residential centre in Canada so others could find the help and hope they needed in their own back yard.
Fast-forward twelve years and I’m here to tell you that eating disorders are rampant but we have more knowledge about them than before. That getting help still isn’t easy but it’s easier. We’re thrilled and humbled to have worked with 100 extraordinary clients at the Woodstone Residence and we are grateful for your ongoing support.
This post was written by Deborah Grimm - one of the original founders of the Looking Glass Foundation for Eating Disorders
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