A friend of mine passed away last May. The final weeks of her life were spent in hospice in Victoria. Michelle Stewart functioned for decades before her body shut-down from the ravaging effects of bulimia and anorexia. Now, Michelle’s memoir is being published and a society in her name has been established for eating disorder awareness and education.
Michelle’s Voice: The Society For Eating Disorder Awareness and Education holds a fundraising dance and silent auction on Saturday June 6th at Da Vinci Centre (195 Bay Street) with live music and auction items. The goal of this event is to raise money towards publishing costs and funding the non-profit society.
Michelle Stewart was a respected long-time B.C. government communications staffer who documented her final year of life with end-stage kidney failure due to an eating disorder. Her final stage of life was documented in her blog Bess, I Am A Blogger Now.
Michelle was a beautiful writer and a superb communicator. Her blog is painfully honest and heartbreaking. Since her death, Michelle’s family (including The Q!’s Kirk Mason her partner for 16 years until her death) have been working with a publisher to prepare Michelle’s diary and blog as a memoir. Her book will be titled, Shell: One Woman’s Final Year After A Lifelong Struggle with Anorexia And Bulimia. Michelle’s book will be available September 15th and available in select bookstores and from Amazon
I had no idea Michelle struggled much of her life with an eating disorder. In her blog, Michelle shares the details of this dual life she lived. Her story has been a complete revelation how complex and destructive this illness is for millions of women. How self-image, self-worth and at times self-loathing can be wrapped up in a complicated mess of self-destructive behavior that one simply cannot stop.
My heart breaks for Michelle and other women living with these mental health issues. She was such a beautiful, caring, generous, and intelligent woman. But she struggled to love herself even though countless family, friends and colleagues treasured this special woman. Michelle going public with her secret fight was brave. Without a doubt, she would want anyone living with the same secrets to read her story and cautionary tale. Family and friends of loved ones struggling with eating disorders will want to read Michelle’s memoir.
Michelle’s Voice: The Society For Eating Disorder Awareness and Education fundraising dance and silent auction is Saturday June 6th at Da Vinci Centre (195 Bay Street) with live music from Reynolds Secondary R&B Band and The Majestiks. Silent and live auction items include tickets to AC/DC’s sold out show in Vancouver (September 22nd), Tigh-Na-Mara getaway, Vancouver Open Tennis Tournament package, White Caps tickets, and lots of food and dining packages. Tickets are $20 in advance. Email email@example.com for more information.