I started the foundation because I knew how expensive it was to get eating disorder treatment. Treatment saved my life and access to it was so challenging because of finances. My parents had to take out a second mortgage on their house to afford my treatment. Even back then I always had this idea of someday "paying my parents back" for all they did for me. That idea evolved into helping others afford lifesaving treatment. Eating disorder treatment saved my life on multiple occasions and being able to help others have access to it is so important.
The Mary Rose Foundation started off with a simple notion of helping people suffering with eating disorders get the treatment they needed. Finances are often a huge barrier to this access and I wanted to be able to give back. We started with a Gala/Fashion show 1 month after we applied to be a non-profit. That first fundraiser was the kickoff of the Mary Rose Foundation. With the funds raised from that first event, we donated money to a patient at Westwind Recovery Centre, the last place I went to residential treatment in 2006, and truly began my journey to recovery.
Since beginning the Mary Rose Foundation, we have found there to not only be a huge need for financial assistance for eating disorder treatment but also in prevention. Our culture teaches young women they need to fit into a certain box and anything outside of that box is wrong. We live in a society obsessed with weight, obsessed with perfection, and obsessed with telling young girls how they "should" behave. Eating disorders do not occur in a vacuum. They are complex issues with complex etiology. We cannot control the genetic predisposition, but we can have an effect on raising confident, empowered young women. The Mary Rose Foundation now has a large education/prevention component as well. We hope to help empower young girls to love themselves, develop healthy coping skills, and positive relationships and boundaries. We hope to prevent eating disorders in addition to helping fund treatment for those suffering.