When Lisa Almond was 14, her 11-year-old sister, Kim, became severely anorexic.
Kim was in and out of the hospital for most of her teenage years. She developed diabetes and experienced heart failure.
Later on, Almond started dieting to drop some pounds and fell into the same behaviour that was so damaging for her sister.
During International Eating Disorder Awareness Week this week, the Hopewell Eating Disorder Awareness Centre in Ottawa has organized events, including the Great Jeans Giveaway Days at uOttawa, Algonquin College and Carleton University.
After years of treatment, Almond, now a 35-year-old mother of two, made a full recovery, but after struggling with anorexia for nine years, Kim took her own life.
There are medical markers that dictate when someone can be diagnosed with an eating disorder, but specialist Diana Norton said those markers tend to be reached long after the disorder is fully developed.