Letter to Uno Gelato, a Vancouver-based business.

Dear Paddy Mahony (Owner), Mike Raffan (Managing Partner) and staff at Uno Gelato in Kitsilano,

Last summer, our 13-year-old daughter, Nayeli, was suffering intensely with anorexia nervosa. This mental health condition is cruel, cunning, and unrelenting; I despised it and was desperate to help our daughter escaped the grip of this disease.

Our family was lucky to find specialized support from a registered holistic nutritionist and a registered clinical counsellor in the early fall. Both these practitioners were able to help Nayeli start her process of recovery.

Our first priority was getting Nayeli to eat.


Enter Uno Gelato

I don’t recall the exact circumstances that lead to our first visit but it went something like this:

Very early in her recovery, as we were exploring foods Nayeli would be willing to eat, she proposed Uno Gelato. My heart nearly stopped the first time she indicated an interest in going. Afraid she would change her mind, I had to restrain from pushing her into the car and immediately racing to the Kitsilano location. Instead, we made our way there later that day–me filled with hope and she likely filled with ambivalence, guilt, self-shame, and some eagerness at defying her eating disorder by consuming a delicious dessert.

Over the weeks that followed, we returned to Uno Gelato many times. For reasons I still do not understand, Nayeli allowed herself this delicacy while she continued to deny herself most others.

Let me qualify the previous statement by specifying that every trip to Uno Gelato consisted of crying before and crying after. The crying happened because Nayeli was continuously tormented by the voice of her eating disorder which screamed lies of becoming fat, of lacking discipline, and of being weak. Somehow she persevered.

Trips to Uno Gelato continued and became less torturous over time, for both of us, as Nayeli’s recovery strengthened. When we go now, we both thoroughly enjoy our gelato.


Has someone unknowingly helped you?

Paddy and Mike, I write this so that you are aware of what an important role your business had in helping our daughter through this extremely difficult period.

I also write this post as a reminder to all of us that we may be touching lives of others in the most unexpected ways.

If someone has helped you, how can you let them know?

Centre photo taken by Nayeli.  This story was shared with permission from Nayeli.

(Postscript, written a few days after this was posted: Both Paddy and Mike responded with so much kindness and gratitude for this post. I appreciated that they read the post and responded within hours).

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