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"It was so wonderful to work towards a goal bigger than myself"

Siblings Izzie and Alex took on a Tough Mudder challenge in 2019 in aid of Beat! Izzie shares their story below.

Why did you want to fundraise for Beat?

In my early teens I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. At that time eating disorders were still largely perceived as fantastical, or even incomprehensible. Over the past decade, through a combination of long-term inpatient, day patient and an entire range of outpatient therapies I am recovering into a woman who is not just surviving, but truly thriving. I missed years of education, sitting all my exams in hospital, damaged my health and relationships, and lost a truly wonderful friend and former fellow patient Steff to this illness. I can only now begin to comprehend what my family have been through. My brother Alex and I decided to raise money to support a charity that gives immense strength and support to those in the midst of the nightmare we know too well. Beat do an incredible amount of work raising awareness and reducing the stigma around these fatal, damaging and life-limiting illnesses. At a time where services cannot always meet the demand of those needing them, the work Beat does supporting individuals, families, carers and those around them is both essential and incredible.

How did you get along with your fundraising? What did you enjoy most about it?

Alex and I decided to do the Tough Mudder to raise money for Beat. Having mishandled exercise for so long, it was such a positive and exciting experience training towards an event, which would ultimately benefit others. When we began receiving donations we became more and more enthusiastic. 

It was a brilliant day. It was an immense physical challenge for me, but, now healthy and encouraged by my wonderful brother, spectating family and donations, I was on a high. The atmosphere, the experience and the support were fantastic, and we felt immensely proud to represent such an important cause.

How did you find training for your event?

Setting a challenge for fundraising helped us maintain our motivation and enthusiasm. We’ve now completed the Tough Mudder twice and there is a huge sense of achievement and camaraderie at the finish line. After a decade of setting disordered goals around my weight, my size, my intake and my anorexia, it was so wonderful and so freeing for me to work towards a goal bigger than myself. Having been diagnosed with life-limiting conditions such as low bone density and kidney function, knowing that I can still do incredible things like this motivates me every single day. Training for a specific event also allows you to spend that quality time with, and make memories with, those around you. It opens up the conversation.

What would you say to anyone thinking of supporting Beat?

Do it. Whether you have experience of an eating disorder or not. It could be your lover, parent, child, dentist, doctor, retail assistant, or somebody you sit next to on the bus. Eating disorders are fatal, life-limiting and cannot be ignored any longer. Create a fundraising event you feel passionate about, or give a donation within your budget. Help Beat lessen the suffering that so many are impacted by from eating disorders. The resources Beat provide – safe internet chatrooms, advice pages and support for parents and families – are so, so important, particularly at a time when waiting lists are long, demands are ever-increasing and so many continue to suffer. Help Beat save lives.