Eating Disorders Families Australia (EDFA) will unveil a custom-designed pendant worth over $4,200 to launch its new annual ‘Recharge 4 Recovery’ campaign to raise awareness of the impact of eating disorders on families.   

Inspired by the stories of many of EDFA’s members, Brisbane jewellery designer Katherine Kemp’s personal experience as the sister of someone with an eating disorder led her to donate the entire piece of jewellery to EDFA to help with its fundraising efforts. 

A national online auction will be used to find an owner for the ‘Hope’ pendant.  

“I really wanted to be a part of this project. It means something to me personally because of the experience of some friends, but most importantly, my older sister experienced Anorexia and then Bulimia from when she was about 13,” says Ms Kemp, who is the owner of Ruby Red Jewellery.  

“If EDFA had been there, my mother would have been able to help my sister more and we might not have ended up where she did.”

EDFA is a national not-for-profit organisation focussing solely on providing support, education, and advocacy services to carers and families of those living with an eating disorder. Established in 2016, EDFA currently has more than 2,000 members nationwide and has helped hundreds of carers and families over the years. 

A unique Australian black opal was chosen as the centrepiece of the pendant because it looks like Earth and illustrates that the person with the eating disorder is the carer’s world. 

Wrapped around the opal is a white gold arm, containing nine round, brilliant cut diamonds that represent the sparkle or signs of hope and recovery that families and carers seek in their loved one’s eyes. The arm reflects the carer’s goal of keeping their loved one safe from harm, nurturing them, and holding space for them to recover. 

As recovery strengthens, the carer lets go, allowing their loved one to move onto an independent post-recovery path and this is represented by a break in the gold around the opal and a thinner gold line that follows and reflects the end of the recovery journey. 

At the bottom of the pendant is a 1.07ct pear-shaped aquamarine to reflect the oceans of tears that families and carers shed, filled with courage, persistence, hope, and joy. 

EDFA Executive Director Jane Rowan says the pendant is a meaningful reflection of the difficult journey families and carers go through while supporting a loved one to recovery from an eating disorder. 

“All recovery journeys are unique, however, all carers experience intense fear as well as heightened stress and anxiety levels,” Ms Rowan says, adding a recent EDFA survey found 96% of carers fear for their loved one’s future, while 83% of carers are overwhelmed.

“Kath has captured the essence of the carer experience through the ‘Hope’ pendant. Most importantly, we wanted to reinforce that this unique piece reflects the fact that recovery is definitely possible.”

Ms Rowan says EDFA hopes the pendant becomes a talking point for the auction winner and helps to raise broader community awareness of eating disorders and the devastating effect they can have on families and carers. 

EDFA’s Recharge 4 Recovery fundraising campaign will run throughout June and will also include a daily welbeing activity for EDFA’s members and the general public. These activities will be quick and easy as most families and carers are extremely time poor when caring for someone with an eating disorder. 

The activites are designed to reinforce the need for carers to maintain their own physical and psychological health and give them some tools to do this. They can then recharge for the long recovery journey. 

The wellbeing activities will be available on EDFA’s social media accounts each day. 

Did you know? 

      • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental health conditions. 

      • More than one million Australians are currently living with an eating disorder, meaning at least four millions Australians are impacted by an eating disorder. 

      • One in five of those diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa will die as a result of complications of the disease. 

      • Anorexia Nervosa only accounts for 3% of eating disorder diagnoses in Australia. 
      • The average length of recovery from an eating disorder is six years.

    Hope pendant necklace