The courage to ask for help: Elly's story

When Elly was only 8 years old, she started to think her body looked different from other kids her age. By the time she was 12, it had become a serious problem and the pandemic only made things worse.

"I started exercising a lot and eating less. I lost 50 pounds."

Because her weight was so dangerously low, she was admitted to The Montreal Children's Hospital for rehydration and gradual feeding. "I was very sick, but I didn't want to gain the weight back. I was struggling with anorexia. The illness still had control over me at the time," explains Elly.

Elly was at risk for heart and kidney failure. "This is when I realized I had a serious problem," she says. Elly spent two weeks in the Hospital, followed by medical specialists and nutritionists who helped her a lot.

Elly participates in the Family-Based Treatment program in which parents are encouraged to be part of their child's health care team. Her work to overcome her illness now continues at home. Though she is not yet completely cured, Elly is doing well! "Having good mental health allows me to focus on the things that really matter," the teen confides.

In August 2021, Elly bravely shared her story at the Caring for Kids Radiothon, expressing her gratitude to The Children's and donors like you who have helped her get back to her energetic self. In the midst of a global pandemic, her story contributed to the more than $1.3 million raised for the Hospital's young patients and their families.

Since the start of lockdown measures, the number of patients admitted to The Children’s with eating disorders has nearly doubled and hospitalizations have more than tripled.

Did you know?

In any given year, one in five Canadians will struggle with mental illness. Up to 70% of sufferers report that the symptoms started in childhood. Yet, many will not talk about it because mental illness still carries a tremendous stigma. 

Let’s spread the word and help raise awareness about mental health. Now more than ever, every action counts.