Maddy was a shining light. A teenager but always showing true empathy and interest in other people's lives as well as concern and care for other creatures and for the environment. She was funny, independent, headstrong, warm, intelligent, good fun, studious. She was everything that makes a wonderful human. She had just started university to become a doctor. She was a blessing to the world and would have contributed even more than she already had done.
As is so horribly often the case with young people like this they inexplicably succumb to an eating disorder, and in Maddy's case it took her from us and, devastatingly, took from her mum and dad, Chris and Stuart, the absolute centre of their world.
In my line of work I come into contact with many many people who suffer quietly with an eating disorder. EDs slowly destruct, mentally and physically, but to be taken seriously by a doctor it seems one literally has to be stretchered in to their office, and even then it's a lottery. Support for EDs is nothing better than appalling, criminal even. So so much more needs to be done, and Beat, the UK's ED charity have their work cut out massively. They need a million times more resource than they have and even then will be scratching the surface.
There is also taboo around EDs. Sufferers feel ashamed to talk about it even to close family. EDs range from binge eating (extremely common and hidden) bulimia, compulsive overeating, selective eating through to anorexia. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental health disorder.
I hope you'll come with me on this journey and that I can help you to understand the utterly life-crushing effects of eating disorders so that one day you may be able to help someone find support and even save a life.
Thank you so much for reading this far, and to everyone who's already sponsored me thank you for your kindness and generosity.
Love Sally xx