In 2014, Mara unexpectedly experienced a manic episode and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Through her battle with mental health, many wellness professionals helped Mara heal
and transform her life. Mara’s experience — in addition to the experience of some of her
close family members — kindled in her a passion for changing the narrative around
children’s mental health.
She established the Extraordinary Lives Foundation (ELF), including the popular HUGS
for life healing center, a program offered by ELF which bridges the gap between
medical professionals and holistic healers and created the character Piggie Bear (books
and plush) to promote mental health awareness and prevention and provide both
children and their parents with the resources they need to pursue holistic wellness in
across all avenues available.