We’re so grateful to have you as our Mentor Spotlight of the Month! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

“I love being in nature and believe strongly in the healing power of immersing oneself in the natural environment, be it forests, prairies, mountains, oceans, etc.  My passions are working towards conservation and sustainable use of our natural resources and community service that involves connecting with people and helping to improve the lives of people in our communities.  

As a retiree I have a lot of time to volunteer and am involved with organizations that help me to follow these passions.  Last week I was in the wilderness helping to clear logs off of trails with crosscut saws and this week I am in Colombia helping to start a youth conservation corps program with economically disadvantages youth in Colombia.  

My extended family also brings me great joy and my wife Deb and I make time to be with both our extended families as often as possible.

Other interests include gardening, yoga and running.”

How long have you been a caregiver mentor at EDF?

“I have been involved with EDF for over 6 years, first as a member of the friends and family group and most recently as a mentor.”

What is your favorite part of mentoring? 

“Sharing experiences with my mentees and learning from each other.  We are not experts and all our situations are somewhat unique, but by sharing our experiences including our blunders and successes, we can do learn to be the best support for the ones we love.”

What is one thing you wish people knew about the importance of a caregiver mentor/mentee relationship while navigating your loved one’s eating disorder recovery? 

“That you don’t always have to talk about the eating disorder.  By sharing more about our lives, we build relationship and trust and friendship and create a better space for us to help each other learn about the eating disorder and how best to help the person we care for.”

What would you tell someone who was thinking about joining the Caregiver Mentorship Program? 

“When you first find out that your loved one is caught in the eating disorder vortex it is scary, uncomfortable confusing, and hard to know how to help.  And I know for me, there was a part of me that did not want to discuss this with anyone, especially strangers.  But it was so scary and so hard to understand that I was ready to try anything and so glad I came to EDF.”

What is the best advice you feel like you’ve ever received as a caregiver? 

  1. “Get professional help, see a doctor who has experience and can check vitals to see how it has effected their medical condition.  Get treatment from an Eating Disorder professional.
  2. Be insistent that you will do whatever you can to help your loved one fight this disorder, that its no one’s fault, that the eating disorder has served a purpose (coping skill to manage stress) but now we have to learn new ones because this old one can kill you
  3. Communicating with your loved one often and always asking them, “How best can I help you right now?”  And be ready to help.  That might mean taking a walk after dinner, eating a meal with your loved one, engaging in other activities that help distract the eating disorder and normalize healthy eating.”