We are the Harris family and we are coming to you today to ask for your help. Our daughter Abby has been battling Anorexia Nervosa for over four years, and Dave and I are doing everything we can to get Abby the treatment that is vital for her recovery.
Abby developed Anorexia Nervosa-Binge/Purge subtype at 12 years old, she is now 16. She hid her disorder from everyone until one day in the beginning of her sophomore year of high school, she passed out at school. This was the day that Abby finally asked for help. While our daughter has been battling her eating disorder for years, our journey trying to beat this deadly mental illness as a family has been ongoing since October 2019.
I will never forget how scared and weak she was when I rushed to school that day to pick her up. All she could say was, “Mom, I really need help.” The realization that she had passed out from malnutrition and dehydration was shocking to say the least. The fact that she had been hiding it so well for so many years was devastating to us. We knew we had to get her help immediately.
In Richmond, VA there is only one Eating Disorder Treatment Facility. We quickly learned that there are different levels of treatment for ED. At her evaluation, we were told that Abby needed to go into Inpatient Care to improve her health, until she was physically able to move into the Residential Care. Unfortunately, Inpatient and Residential Care are not available in Richmond. Three days later, we drove out of state for her to be admitted into an Inpatient and Residential Treatment Program. Dave and I drove down every Friday, staying through the weekend for all of the family programming. Something else that we learned, was that successful treatment and recovery involves the family as a whole. Abby was there for about 6 weeks, and was discharged 2 weeks before her set discharge date. This happens to many people when insurance companies abruptly decide that they will not continue coverage for the specific levels of care.
Returning home to Richmond was scary and extremely stressful for Abby. It was hard on our whole family. Abby went into a day program for 3 months and received the lowest level of treatment- for a few hours a day, a couple of days a week, while she adjusted to going back to school.
Abby has been working with her outpatient team of doctors, her therapist, and a nutritionist since May of 2020, when she was fully discharged from the treatment center.
In July 2020, Abby relapsed. We continued with her outpatient team in hopes of getting the eating disorder back under control. Unfortunately the mentality of the eating disorder is too strong and has taken over. Abby’s outpatient team has collectively decided that she needs to go into a higher level of care in order to get her physically and mentally stable enough to fight the eating disorder. As a family, we are fighting to get her life back.
Abby, her outpatient team, and Dave and I know that a different treatment approach is needed and is crucial for her success in recovery. We have found a Residential Treatment Program that uses a different nutritional approach as well as a different living environment that is less like a hospital setting. It is more focused on encouragement of normalized eating, which we feel will be beneficial. It is in a home setting with no more than 8 patients, a place where Abby could get the kind of care and attention that she needs.
Eating disorder treatment is unimaginably expensive. Inpatient/Residential treatment facilities can cost up to $2,000.00 per day. In order to get Abby into treatment, we are asking for your help.
Words can not describe how difficult this past year has been for Abby and for our family. While we will do everything we can to help our daughter, this process has caused immense financial and emotional strain on our family.
Abby’s health is deteriorating as each day passes. Some days are better than others, but we take it one day at a time.
Donations will give us the ability to place Abby in a Residential Treatment Facility and will aid us with the additional expenses related to Abby’s care. We have a long road ahead of us, but it is a hopeful one.
Below I have attached a few links with further information on finding help and raising awareness for those fighting ED’s. If you are going through a similar situation or have questions for us, please do not hesitate to reach out- we are all in this together.
We will not stop fighting. We truly cannot thank you enough for all of your love and support.
The Harris Family
- GoFundMe Team
- Ellen Bernstein
- Joeffrey Trimmingham
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