Carla Adams is a Manager of Marketing & Communications at the IWK Foundation.
Our work at the IWK Foundation is always fulfilling, but each year one project rolls around that is particularly rewarding for me. I put together our Report to Donors and in doing so I am fortunate to meet and write about some pretty incredible patients and families.
Jayme was one little girl who really touched me. I had been searching for a story from the IWK’s Mental Health & Addictions area for weeks and, like most years, people were reluctant to share their stories (likely due to continued stigma around mental illness).
So I was a little surprised when Jayme and her mom, Kerri, agreed to talk about Jayme’s eating disorder, which presented itself when Jayme was only 11 years old. What was even more surprising was how the illness began. Jayme began focusing on eating well following a healthy eating presentation at school. The well-intentioned shift to healthy food went too far and Jayme developed Anorexia Nervosa.
I met the mom and daughter duo at the photographer’s studio in Halifax. Jayme was a little shy, but she was also calm, pleasant and confident. Her mom told me how excited Jayme was to be having her very own photo shoot and that her daughter had been “primping” all morning.
We decided to go outside for the photo shoot. Jayme and the photographer, Sue Siri, jetted off down Spring Garden Road while Kerri and I strolled along behind them. It was then I learned more about Jayme’s struggle with Anorexia, and how the whole family was involved in Jayme’s treatment and recovery at the IWK.
It was so much fun seeing Jayme pose for photos on the busy sidewalk. Kerri was beaming too – clearly proud of her daughter.
Jayme deserves a lot of credit – not just for coming forward to tell her story – but for having the courage and maturity to understand her illness and face it head on.
To read Jayme’s story visit www.with-you.ca/jayme.