In January of 1998, Dawn Montaner and her husband, Victor, discovered their youngest daughter had two eating disorders. The ravages of disease devastated them; however, they were more disturbed by the lack of information, resources and treatment. The Montaners looked for treatment facilities for their daughter and discovered she would have to go out of state for quality care. In addition, they would have to pay between $1300 and $1500 daily for treatment and this was a cost not covered by their insurance. The Montaners were on a mission to save their daughter’s life, and they did just that. However, Dawn Montaner decided she had to make a difference and make that road a little easier to navigate for the next family.
Montaner fought for basic coverage, and they were able to secure treatment for their daughter at the Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, Florida. She threw herself into a campaign for education, awareness, and prevention of eating disorders. Her time and energies resulted in Lifelines Foundation for Eating Disorders, an institution that is recognized not only in Texas but also across the entire county. It is one of the largest grass-roots eating disorder organizations in the United States.
Montaner has a full time job, but she uses her vacation days to travel all over and share the message of prevention to school districts and students. Last year alone, she traveled to Washington, DC to be a part of the Eating Disorder Coalition for Eating Disorders where she met with Hilary Clinton and representatives from her home state of Texas.
Because of her dedication and commitment, Eckerd’s Drug Store’s National Division selected Montaner as one of the Top 100 Women Volunteers in American. She has received two proclamations from now President George W. Bush when he was Governor of Texas, one from Governor Rick Perry, two from the Texas House of Representatives, two from the Texas Board of Health, one from the Texas Senate, and many letters of support and endorsement from Senators and Congressmen from all states.
Montaner has made presentations for the American Cancer Society, The Texas State PTA, 6 of 20 Educational Service Regions in Texas, Texas Board of Health, the Texas State Board of Education, and many school districts. She has been an advocate for the cause and has lobbied for the revision of the Texas Mental Health and Parity Act along with the commitment of the Texas legislation in mandating insurance coverage of eating disorders as a severe mental illness.