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Taking on invisible challenges: John, a passionate advocate for men with eating disorders

At 58, John has been living most of his life with invisible challenges, including an eating disorder. In December 2016, John became one of first residents of a Supportive Transition House launched with funding support from the WaterStone Foundation. With more confidence and food awareness and buoyed by a strong network of peers and colleagues, he is transitioning back to his apartment full-time.

“Living by yourself with an eating disorder is really difficult. I have peers and more support now, thanks to CMHA’s Transition House and WaterStone. That’s partly why I am a passionate advocate for individuals with eating disorders, particularly men. When you talk openly about invisible disabilities and share they become visible. Doors open to support and networking.”

John Dyson, London, Ontario

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Emma forges a new life: Feeling brave and calm about food

Emma, now age 28, began to think and feel obsessive about food at the age of 20, when things didn’t seem to be going her way. Micro-managing her food was a means of gaining control over her life.

In 2016, after a four week hospital stay she emerged, physically stronger, but still needing further treatment. Through funding support from WaterStone Foundation, she participated a six week day-program in Bellwood Health Services. 

Today, Emma lives in downtown Toronto with her new Labrador retriever, works full time and has a great network of friends and family for support. 

“I feel as though I have found my authentic self. I have a calmness and courage around food and a sense of purpose that there is something outside my eating disorder. There is a life waiting for me and I have so much I want to do and see and explore.”

Emma Lyle, Toronto, Ontario

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Story of true grit: determined to get help, Jennifer found funding support from WaterStone

By her early 20s, Jennifer was stuck in an uncontrollable cycle of binge eating and restricting food. Support groups offered solidarity and acceptance, but not enough tools or assistance.

Unfortunately, Alberta does not have any dedicated health services or programs specific for certain eating disorders, only paid health care experts. She was connected with an Eating Disorder Recovery Centre out of province and found out about WaterStone Foundation. Within a week after submitting her application for support, WaterStone’s funding for her stay at a Recovery Centre came through.

“I want to extend heartfelt and everlasting gratitude to both the Waterstone Foundation and Westwind Eating Disorder Recovery Centre. Thank you for helping me learn to believe in myself the same way you believed in me. This new life is a precious gift that I will cherish forever.”

 Jennifer Pothier, Edmonton, Alberta

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