Media Release: Calgary Dads "on the Run" April 30 to Establish Alberta's First Eating Disorders Residential Treatment Centre


30,000 Albertans Suffer from Eating Disorders, but Province has No Residential
Treatment Centre Devoted Exclusively to Mental Illness with Highest Mortality Rate

Two Calgary Dads of Children in Recovery Take on 74-Kilometre Run in Grand Canyon in Inaugural Fundraiser to Establish First Eating Disorders Residential Treatment Centre in Southern Alberta

(Calgary AB, April 11, 2016) - More than 30,000 Albertans (male and female) suffer from eating disorders, with no specialized provincial residential treatment facility for the illness. On April 30, two Calgary dads who know firsthand the pain of having a child with an eating disorder will run 90,000 steps with a total elevation change of over 6,000 metres in Arizona's Grand Canyon as part of the first fundraising efforts of Calgary Silver Linings Foundation (CSLF), the only Alberta foundation working towards the establishment of the province's first eating disorder residential treatment centre in Southern Alberta.

According to CSLF Chair Cendrine Tremblay, many Albertan youth, including pre-teen and teenage girls and boys, suffer from severe eating disorders and “building a residential treatment centre in Southern Alberta for at-risk youth is the first critical step in filling the systemic gap in services and reducing the number of repeat hospital admissions and deaths. We need to break the cycle of repeat hospital admissions and support all families who need to secure treatment for their children.”  The rate of girls between 10-19 years-old who had to be hospitalized from 2007-2013 increased an incredible 42%, says Tremblay. “More than one-quarter of hospital emergency visits in Alberta for eating disorders include an admission to hospital for inpatient care and the average stay in hospital is 33 days.”

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and the urgent need and demand for a world-class residential treatment centre is higher than ever, adds Tremblay. “CSLF is committed to the integration of a residential treatment centre for an improved service model that will enhance outcomes and help decrease mortality rates by providing access to patients who might not get a hospital bed.”  

Repeat admissions to in-patient hospital beds for those with eating disorders are continuing to drag down Alberta’s healthcare system. “CSLF is committed to a province-wide centre, which will reduce demand and waitlist for an acute care health system, as well as shifting services from acute care to community healing – at minimal cost to Albertans.”

There are currently only 12 specialized beds in Edmonton and no residential treatment centre for eating disorders in Calgary – except for six beds in a general medical unit with staff who are not specialized in treating eating disorders.

Avidly training locally for the run, Calgary fathers, business leaders and seasoned running partners Jim Hall (who ran the ultra-marathon “Le Marathon des Sables” in Morocco in 2012) and Brad Pierce (a Calgary lawyer and triathlete who successfully completed the Calgary Ironman Half in 2015) initiated the idea of 90,000 Steps towards Beating Eating Disorders in Alberta. As parents of patients who are in recovery, they understand firsthand the value of having a local residential treatment centre available. “We want to ensure other families have easier, more affordable and faster access to treatment, so they can better cope with the emotional and financial burdens that further impact an already difficult trauma,” says Pierce. They chose the Grand Canyon, partly as a personal challenge, but also because they feel it is representative of the chasm into which many families feel they are plunged to save their kids. Says Hall: “It symbolizes the journey families endure when a child suffers from a severe eating disorder. When confronted with the limited availability of proper diagnosis and treatment, the route can seem impassable.”

About Calgary Silver Linings Foundation:
The not-for-profit Calgary Silver Linings Foundation (CSLF) was created in June 2014 by a group of committed parents and community members.  It began operating as a charity in 2015 with the primary goal of establishing a residential treatment centre in Southern Alberta for eating disorders. CSLF offers parent and client support groups in Calgary. Among its prominent Advisors are Dr. Blake Woodside, Director of the Inpatient Eating Disorders Service and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and Gina Dimitropoulos, MSW, PhD and Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Work, Department of Psychiatry at University of Calgary.  There are only four specialized residential treatment centres in Canada and most no longer accept out-of-province patients, leaving Alberta parents the limited option of going for treatment in the U.S., often unfeasible for many families. Treatment takes an average of three to six months.

Visit Calgary Silver Linings Foundation at and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter (@SilverLiningsAB) with hashtag #90Ksteps


Contact: Irene Karras