How one man’s passion, fuelled by heartbreak, is helping change the lives of people living with eating disorders.

Breakthrough’s desire to create a life free from mental illness is at the heart of everything we do. And that philosophy rings true to our most dedicated supporters who share our vision.

One such supporter is Mario Corena. Mario’s daughter Lauren died from suicide in 2015 following a 10-year battle with anorexia.

“It doesn’t take much for an eating disorder to push someone over the edge,” said Mario.

“It’s so important that young people get help straight away because it moves fast and the longer it stays unchecked and untreated, the more damage it does to a young brain’s thinking and recovery is harder and longer.”

Children and teenagers all across the country suffering with eating disorders are waiting months and even years in some cases to access the help they need for treatment.

Lauren lost her life. But her legacy is paving the way for the development of new and effective treatments for eating disorders with Mario and her family generously donating to Breakthrough to establish a PhD top up scholarship in Lauren’s name. It was awarded to Flinders University’s Joanne Zhou to investigate the effectiveness of ‘imagery rescripting’ as a treatment for eating disorders. With eating disorders, a life-threatening condition affecting more than one million Australians, new research is vital.

“I am so grateful that I had the honour to meet with Lauren’s father, Mario, who shared with me his passion in supporting research in eating disorders and his personal experience of a loved one battling with an eating disorder,” Joanne said.

Mario has also supported the development of the new SEDS Centre which he hopes will better assist younger sufferers and their families with more co ordinated, overarching residential and clinical care. He also is part of a number of consumer care groups that support working groups in decision making across health and services.

Lauren was diagnosed with anorexia at age 14 and spent time at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital’s Boylan and Adolescent wards. That’s why Mario is so passionate in supporting Breakthrough. “I see the work Breakthrough does firsthand and the passion the team has in driving outcomes and change for the community. That is reflected in the partnerships they have with other community groups, health services and the team itself.”