Family thanks Sid Valley community for offers of support

Diane and Stephen Hartwell have launched an appeal to get life-saving treatment for their daughter,

Diane and Stephen Hartwell have launched an appeal to get life-saving treatment for their daughter, Sophie - Credit: Archant

Diane and Stephen Hartwell are appealing for help in raising money to get their daughter life-saving treatment

Sophie Hartwell

Sophie Hartwell - Credit: Archant

Parents desperately seeking life-saving treatment for their daughter - that the NHS says it cannot provide - have thanked Sid Valley people for their support.

Sophie Hartwell, 23, of Trow Hill, developed anorexia nervosa and depression six years ago and has now been told her condition has worsened to such an extent there is nowhere in the UK that can treat her.

Her parents, Diane and Stephen, turned to the Herald last week in desperation to appeal for help in raising more than £100,000 needed for Sophie to undergo intensive treatment at a specialist clinic in the USA.

Sophie went from a healthy weight to an emaciated state within five months and was hospitalised, but the family say she was discharged when she most needed help. They feel she has been repeatedly let down by mental health services since.

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The family were told at Christmas that other than teaching Sophie to manage her illness in the community, there would be no cure and nothing more the NHS can do.

They have been in touch with an eating disorder clinic in California for more than a year, but found there is no funding available to help pay for the costly treatment abroad.

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Diane, who is Sophie’s full-time carer, this week, extended her gratitude to members of the community for donations and offers of support following the appeal in the newspaper.

She said: “We have done extensive research into the best course of treatment for Sophie and have not taken this decision lightly.

“All the treatment is highly individualised as it is tailored to the needs of the patient. The founder of the clinic has recovered from an eating disorder and has formulated a treatment plan to what she knows is needed for successful recovery.”

The treatment includes three transitional living stages to help patients adjust to life after being discharged and incorporates both psychological and holistic therapies, as well as downtime activities to enable social growth.

Stephen said Sophie’s illness and additional conditions, which include severe depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, mean she cannot enjoy doing simple, ‘normal’ activities.

Last week, Sophie said: “I am bereft of all the milestones most people my age have experienced and it has stolen prime years of my life that I will never get back - without this treatment my future is bleak.”

Her family recognises that, even if Sophie gets the treatment, it will still only be the start of a long recovery process, but they say she would love to be rid of the ‘terrible illness’ and have a chance to ‘start her life’.

Anyone able to help can make cheques payable to ‘The Sophie Hartwell Trust’ and send them to Trow Lodge, Trow Hill, Sidford, Sidmouth, EX10 OPW. Call the Herald on 01392 888504 to pass on support.

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