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Celebrating 40 years of Eating Disorders Victoria

Posted By Michaela Skilney  

Eat Love Live’s Clinical Director, Jo Money, shares her personal connection to Eating Disorders Victoria (EDV) and the many reasons to celebrate their 40th birthday. 

The first time I contacted EDV (formerly the Eating Disorders Foundation Victoria), I was not even a resident of the state. I was a teenager in Tasmania, worried about a friend, and remember thinking as a 12-year old that it was important to learn more about what they were going through. This felt like something I couldn't take to my parents, or school, but something I could safely discuss with someone on the end of the phone at EDV who helpfully mailed me a satchel bursting with factsheets and brochures.

I remember keeping that satchel safe, coming back to it many times over the next few years to try and understand my friend’s experience - and later on my own. From a very young age I tried to understand the weight, diet and food obsessed culture we live in and to this day, that thirst for understanding still remains. 

Celebrating 40 years of service this year, I have no doubt that there are many people with similar experiences to mine who may have stumbled upon the EDV phone number or a brochure, being met with compassion and containment in a pre-Google world. 

An ever present, grass roots organisation created by passionate people, EDV comprises people wanting to support others to have a different experience to themselves - or their families - in recovery. People who want others to have a community to connect with for validation, reassurance and direction. People to tackle systemic change, health practitioner education and consumer support.

My next interaction with EDV was as a student at university. Having recently moved to Melbourne and knowing no one, my interest in disordered eating and eating disorders had peaked and EDV’s resource library supported me with many assignments. 

Shortly after as a newly graduated dietitian, I felt unsure how to stay true to my values in a stereotypical, weight centric industry that felt ‘one size fits all’, with little regard for the individual. One of my first jobs was not as a dietitian in fact, but an Education Officer at EDV! This was such an invaluable time of my life, to be engaged with an organisation battling against the odds to create systemic change. 

The role enabled me to connect with some phenomenal people who were, and remain, pillars of strength and wisdom in this domain and I am lucky enough to now call them mentors and friends. My tenure lasted just under a year, but it was the foundation of a career I am very proud of that affords me the privilege of learning from so many amazing people - predominantly those with lived experience.   

I sat on the board of management at EDV for another brief moment, even filling the role of treasure for a few months. Anyone who knows me will be surprised by this as I now outsource bookkeeping and detailed oriented work, so it’s quite lucky I filled in for a short gap or perhaps EDV may not have made it to 40! 

EDV has remained a staple beacon of support and information in my life. A constant source of inspiration, connection and joy. I have referred all of my clients, their family and their friends to EDV for the encompassing support to complement disordered eating or eating disorder treatment. The feedback? I’ve only ever heard positive reflections.

Congratulations to EDV and all those involved or who have contributed to the development of this dynamic organisation. I honour its founders and earlier pioneers who persisted and created such an important space, and to all who have advocated for funding to enable EDV to continue their phenomenal work. I can't wait to see what is next for you and know that you have firm fans out there, like me, in the wider world cheering you on! 

Eat Love Live has a table at EDV’s 40th Anniversary Galaon Saturday 18th November 2023 to celebrate their success and help them raise funds to further their cause. If you would like to join us, book your tickets here. Alternatively, donate to EDV and help support them to continue the amazing work they do.