13 January 2023

Amy’s story – Why I wanted to raise money and say thank you to the Regional Eating Disorders Unit team who saved my life

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Amy Young presenting a cheque to the REDU team at St John’s

Amy Young struggled for years with a combination of bulimia, anorexia and over-exercise. As Amy continues with her recovery, she wanted to show her thanks for the team at the Regional Eating Disorders Unit (REDU) at St John’s and also share her story to help raise awareness of eating disorders and encourage others to get help.

This is Amy’s story.

“On 17 December, 2022, I did a sponsored challenge: walking 0.8 miles and eating one slice of cake. I know many people were asking themselves why that was a challenge worth sponsoring, and it was a fair point. But for me personally it was a far harder challenge than running a half marathon or going for a dip in the sea.

“I have struggled for several years with a combination of bulimia, anorexia and over-exercise. This resulted in me being admitted to St John’s Hospital in November 2021, where the incredible team on the REDU ward nursed me back to health. The team at REDU are the most patient, caring and selfless group of people I have ever met. Not only did they restore me to physical health, they showed me that life could be worth living again when I was in a place of utter despair.

“For the first month of my admission, I was consigned to a wheelchair – the 17th of December marked one year to the day that I “got my legs back” and was allowed to walk again unaccompanied. To celebrate this anniversary, I took on a challenge to walk from my house to the local cafe (Bread & Butter) to eat a slice of cake – which I would not have thought possible one year ago.

“By undertaking this challenge, I wanted to raise money for the wonderful REDU Ward to support them in their tireless efforts to turn people’s lives around and pick them up in their darkest times. I also wanted to raise awareness of eating disorders, to encourage others who are suffering to get help, and to show that life can get better. Christmas is an especially difficult time of year for those with eating disorders, with food and drink forming integral parts of socialising. I hope that by doing this challenge, my story will help others too.

“I had originally set myself a fundraising target of £1,500 and I am delighted to say that we totally smashed that. I am absolutely blown away by the kindness and generosity of my family and friends and I hope that, through my challenge, others will seek the help that the need and the ward will be able to continue to go that extra mile for their patients thanks to this additional funding.
“I will be forever grateful to the staff in the REDU ward who nursed me back to health. This fundraising is only a tiny gesture I can give to the team in return for everything they have done to help me. Thank you.”

Laura Cumming, Senior Charge Nurse at the Regional Eating Disorder Unit at St John’s, said:

“A big thank you to Amy, she’s come so far and we are all proud of her. We don’t often get to hear how someone is after they have left the unit, so it is wonderful to see how well Amy is doing and that she has also taken on this challenge to raise money for the unit. It’s amazing.”

Money raised through fundraising challenges like Amy’s supports teams across NHS Lothian to take forward projects that improve, change and save lives.

From the everyday to the transformational, NHS Lothian Charity supports NHS Lothian to deliver outstanding care throughout the full healthcare journey and across all health conditions. Whether that’s a more relaxing waiting area, specialist equipment to advance treatment or activities to support recovery, together, we make healthcare better for everyone.

If you would like to donate to Amy’s challenge, you can do so by visiting her JustGiving page.

With your help, we can continue to support patients and families across Edinburgh, Lothian and beyond.