Founder, Something for Kelly Foundation & founder & CEO, Geolat Companies, TEXAS
Ms Patti Geolat is founder of the Something for Kelly Foundation – a non-profit, national organization created to empower children aged six-to-12 years to fight their predisposition toward eating disorders. She established the Foundation in 2013 to honor her niece, Kelly, whose life was taken by an eating disorder at the age of 26.
Ms Geolat is also a published author, public speaker and founder and CEO of Geolat Companies – a widely known authority on the appraisal, brokerage, and sale of fine jewelry.
The Something For Kelly Foundation’s mission has since evolved to Bridge the Gap from Science to Solutions. Toward that end, Something For Kelly, through Ms Geolat, is supporting the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI) – the world’s largest genetics research study of eating disorders ever performed, that aims to identify the hundreds of genes that influence a person’s risk of developing anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder, to improve treatment, and ultimately, save lives.
This is Ms Geolat’s story.
Kelly was born and raised in a small town in Southern Illinois. Her hometown may have been small, but her heart was big. She made time for her many friends and was often the center of anything that seemed like fun. She loved spending time nurturing her brothers. Some may have called it mothering. Kelly and her mom were the best of friends, frequently shopping together. Family road trips and spending time with her dad were always high notes. When she entered a room, the sunshine came with her.
After leaving college, Ms Geolat’s niece began to exhibit disordered eating. Missing her boyfriend and family, she no longer had the control she craved over her life back home. In order to reclaim this control, she began to exercise excessively.
In the early stages of Kelly’s illness, her brother noticed she was purging her food. However, her family struggled with how best to approach, and effectively address this behavior.
“When Kelly was alive, we always wanted to do something for her, but we didn’t really know how much we could ask her about her illness,” said Ms Geolat.
Over the years, Kelly continued to mount an arduous battle with anorexia nervosa. Two years after marrying her high school sweetheart, she tragically lost her battle with the illness, after failing to wake up one morning in August 2009.
“Although we knew Kelly was battling this monster, we were unable to fathom that she could routinely go to bed one night, after what seemed like a normal day, and never wake up,”
Ms Geolat said.
After four long years of deep grief felt by Kelly’s family and friends, Ms Geolat was motivated to go on a Walk to Raise Awareness for the disease. It quickly became apparent that more help was needed. Stymied during her lifetime about how to help, the Something For Kelly Foundation became that “something” that could be done for Kelly’s legacy.
“The Something for Kelly Foundation has been established to prevent this tragic and needless loss from happening to other families,” said Ms Geolat.
The Foundation aspires to create a mindset shift in children with a predisposition to eating disorders, to help them recalibrate their relationship with food, and motivate them to voluntarily choose a healthier direction.
Given eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates of all mental health illnesses, Ms Geolat has chosen to lend her support to EDGI.
“EDGI builds on prior scientific research in the field of eating disorders and genetics. It is critically important that our efforts are measurable and objective. The average time span between scientific research and treatment protocol realized is 17 years. We are bridging that gap to bring results to patients before it is too late.
“Identifying the genes that predispose people to developing eating disorders will revolutionize future research into treatment, and prevention of these potentially devastating illnesses,” Ms Geolat said.