Jennifer Vickers

Jennifer Vickers sitting on couch

"It was the first time I felt heard and not alone"

Jennifer Vickers found life-saving support at her local hospital. 

Jennifer Vickers suffered in silence for so long that she had not only lost hope she'd ever recover from a debilitating eating disorder, she had considered taking her own life.

"I cried myself to sleep every night asking, 'Why is this happening to me?' " she said. "I was keeping it a secret for years--not telling my parents, not my sister, not anyone. I was extremely discouraged and thought, basically, 'This is it. This is what my life is going to be like forever.' "

No one ever wants to hear those words. Not from a friend, a family member, or a child.

It can break your heart to imagine the terrible pain and hopelessness that had pushed such a lovely, accomplished young woman into such a dark place.

When Jennifer first came to Lakeridge Health, she suffered from body-image issues that began as early as Grade 3--even then, she wanted to remake herself with all the "best body parts" of her friends.  It wasn't until her second year of university that she developed bulimia.

"I had this shameful [burden] on me that I was ugly, worthless, that no one would ever want me," she said. "I felt I was trying hard to do everything right--be pretty, be kind to others, get honours' grades--but it never seemed to be enough."

Because of our generous Lakeridge Health supporters tools and resources are available to patients throughout our hospital.  It was one of these programs that saved Jennifer's life and she is especially grateful to receive treatment in her own community hospital, so close to her loving and supportive parents.

The eating disorders program where Jennifer sought help is just one example of the many programs supported by donors. With you by our side, we're committed to supporting quality local health care through many of our specialized programs such as mental-health initiatives, cancer care, seniors' health, dialysis program, and much more.

Jennifer benefited in many ways from our community-focused approach to health care, and we're so encouraged to see how far she's come.

Walking into Lakeridge for the first time, she was nervous and uncertain. But having suffered so long, she was grateful to be receiving treatment at last.

"I thought Lakeridge might be my saving grace," she said. "I felt very exposed but I just really wanted to stick with it because this was the first place that seemed to appear at the right time. I was very excited."

Like many serious health conditions, eating disorders are multidimensional and unique to each patient, and that's why we take the team approach to treatment. Jennifer was grateful for the peace of mind we were able to help her attain. And I know she was especially pleased to have dietitian Meaghan Brule by her side throughout her recovery.

"It was the first time I felt heard and not alone," Jennifer says. "Meaghan was particularly amazing. I wouldn't be here without her. She kept me accountable. Now, I'm excited about the future. I'm applying to do a master's degree in counselling and psychotherapy. Most importantly, I learned that my life is valuable.

"Lakeridge was the most beautiful example of how you can save someone's life. I'm the product of that."

We're so proud of the professionals in our hospital who played a critical role in Jennifer's recovery.  By offering such a wide variety of health care programs, this hospital provides vital community support for everyone who walks through our doors. 

Today Jennifer continues to be an advocate for Lakeridge Health and even started her own GoFundMe account to raise money for the hospital.  Her support means Lakeridge Health can rely on Jennifer the same way she relied on the hospital. 

If you're inspired to support Lakeridge Health and its many programs, please give today, as generously as you can, so that we can keep doing what we do best. Click here to make your donation now.