‘My daughter was diagnosed with Anorexia at 15. We were devastated, as we quickly understood the ramifications of this horrific disease”

‘We gathered our community around us and researched every option available.  Although services were limited, we knew the only way forward was to give it all we had. It was an unimaginable journey from community-based care to family-based therapy then repeated hospitalizations, a day programme, weight restoration and finally – recovery’.

Jennifer Patterson

“I know how lucky our family is to have survived.  Rather than closing that traumatic chapter in my life, I felt it was important to share our lived experience and help others navigate an under resourced system under incredible demand.   We could never have supported our daughter’s treatment without the help of others and a treatment team that valued our contribution as intuitive parents.  I remain incredibly grateful to the researchers and families before us who contributed their knowledge and experience. It helped us every step of the way.”  

Jennifer is passionate about EDFA as a way to advocate for better services, promote evidence-based research for better treatment and give carers a community to feel educated and empowered.   Her background in public health and non-profit organizations allows her to contribute to EDFA’s fundraising and stakeholder development

‘I wish we had known more about the risk factors of an eating disorder before our daughter became unwell. I strongly believe awareness and education for carers as well as clinicians and schools are critical for prevention and early intervention’.

EDFA provides the opportunity to reach out as a community of carers to support each other, educate our community, become empowered as a valuable part of the treatment team and drive change for better services.  Those suffering from an eating disorder MUST have every opportunity for recovery… because there is hope.

Jennifer’s Top Tips:

  • Externalize the eating disorder from your child.    
  • Celebrate even the smallest wins.  They all contribute to recovery.
  • Don’t negotiate with the ED.  Get your team and family on board with the same message at all times.  
  • Let go of any guilt.  It is absolutely no one’s fault.   Your child is sick.  Just like having a broken bone, you figure out the best way to treat and support.   
  • Ask for help.   Be specific and involve friends and family in your journey.  
  • Share with others.  For your own mental health as well as making others aware about this disease so we can fight it … together.

When not at home with her two whippets, Jennifer is busy keeping up with her family of five.   She enjoys wakeboarding, gardening, practicing yoga and travelling overseas to visit friends and families.