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'I'll do anything' Mother of 13-year-old with anorexia says she won't let daughter become another statistic

It's very hard to sit at home and watch your 13-year-old child starve herself and know that you cannot help her in any way because this disease has overtaken her mind.”


Dearbhla McCrave

Dearbhla McCrave

Dearbhla McCrave

The mother of a 13-year-old with severe anorexia has said that she will do anything to make sure her child won’t become just another statistic.

For months, teenager Dearbhla McCrave from Dundalk, Co. Louth has been refusing to eat and drink for days at a time and is currently receiving treatment in hospital.

Her mother, Elizabeth, is trying everything within her power to source a bed in a specialised unit for Dearbhla so that she can receive the care that she needs.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Elizabeth said: “This has been going on since February [of last year], so almost 15 months, and it's just deteriorated and deteriorated.

“She was at home - I couldn't keep her safe at home, she couldn't keep herself safe at home. She refused to eat, then she refused to drink.

“She'd go four or five days without food, then she'd eat something small and then it'd be days again before she'd eat.

“She's been in and out of hospital on numerous occasions, and three where I nearly lost her. And she remains now in the hospital nine weeks, because we can't keep her safe at home anymore.”



Elizabeth explained that the hospital Dearbhla is currently in does not have proper mental health treatment facilities but is keeping her alive.

“They don’t specialise in mental health. It’s just a general medical hospital but the care, love and attention that they've given Dearbhla for the last nine weeks - I could never repay them, because they've kept my child alive.

She added that she has tried everything but there are “very few” beds available in specialised units.

“They’ve tried but there’s no beds available. They've tried Cork, they've tried Galway, they've tried Dublin - at this stage I don't mind where my daughter gets her specialised care, as long as I'm going to have my daughter.

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“As long as it’s going to save my daughter’s life, I will do anything.

“I know my daughter will not make it if she comes home from the hospital, she can't do it,” Elizabeth continued.

“We've tried on three occasions, the last time I was literally over my child ready to give chest compressions because she had refused to eat and even drink water for three days.

“And there was nothing I could say as a parent, or anybody could talk to the child, to get her to do it - until she collapsed in front of me and the ambulance personnel took over. I nearly lost my child.”

Elizabeth told listeners that she refuses to let her child become another statistic.

“My child is not going to be another statistic on a piece of paper in front of somebody.

“This is a child that has so much to give to the world and she really wants help.

“She’s fighting every day demons in her head.

“It's very hard to sit at home and watch your 13-year-old child starve herself and know that you cannot help her in any way because this disease has overtaken her mind.”

The heartbroken mother added that Dearbhla can’t see her own beauty.

“This is a child that looks in the mirror and sees fat every day, she doesn't see anything else.

“She doesn't see the beauty within her... has so much to give to the world and just doesn't see any light.”

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