Hello – my name is Charlie. I am a 24-year-old medical student studying at the University of Southampton. I am also a survivor of anorexia nervosa. I was first diagnosed with anorexia at the age of 16, following my dad’s sudden death in a tragic accident. It has been a very long, frustrating and difficult road to get to where I am today, but I am finally in a much healthier and happier place, and learning to love life again. I used many of Beat’s services during the worst years of my illness, including their message boards, online resources and phone lines; these helped me greatly at a time when I felt extremely isolated and confused.
As I began to recover I was very determined to ‘give something back’ to the charity that had helped me so much. In 2013 I began my first fundraising project, raising over £1150 for Beat (and the same again for the inpatient unit where I spent a total of 14 months), and became a Media Volunteer for Beat, writing pieces for their Christmas appeal and leaflets. In 2016 I was accepted and trained as a Young Ambassador; in this role I am able to use my experiences to educate others about these misunderstood illnesses, help to promote Beat and inform others about the services and support that they offer, and help push for much needed further support and treatment for sufferers and their families.
I am once again fundraising, this time supported by my amazing other half, George. This past weekend we completed, along with our five other awesome team mates, the Midland’s Tough Mudder: an 11-mile challenge with 27 obstacles and a LOT of mud! While it was a lot of fun, it was also a massive physical challenge and great preparation for our next challenge, which is fast approaching…
In less than two weeks’ time, we will be taking on the 50km TrekFest challenge in the Brecon Beacons. Setting off at 9am, we will be walking 50km (31 miles) in a single day, hoping to finish between 8pm and midnight. As we’re both lovers of the outdoors and walking, this seemed like the challenge for us. Fitting in training around our university commitments has been challenging, but we are getting there! And Tough Mudder preparation has helped massively. We are both slightly nervous, as you always are before a big challenge, but also very excited about the event. I love taking part in big planned events like this, as the atmosphere and sense of camaraderie is always such a boast.