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Sam

Sam

Name: Sam Thomas
Age: 21
Year of the Fix: 2008
Location: Brighton
Campaign: Raise awareness of male eating disorders

When I was 13 years old, I developed an eating disorder as a result of being bullied. At first, I had no idea what it was or how to stop it. Then once I researched bulimia, I at least had a name for the disorder, but I did not understand much about it.

                                           

Eating disorders are primarily seen as something only women can develop, so I was not sure what to do. I only really discovered even what bulimia was when I one day caught a glimpse of an article in my mum's magazines, but even then I was unsure how to deal with it.

 

As I went through my teens, I found less and less support for men with eating disorders, and decided that something needed to be done to raise awareness of eating disorders among men.

 

That is when I came up with the idea of the website ‘Men Get Eating Disorders Too’ (MGEDT). I was 21 when I started my Fix, and I worked with Fixers to create an awareness of male eating disorders, and to provide men with a platform and community to share their experiences.

 

I want to dispel the myth that only women can get eating disorders, and make people more aware of the pressures which cause men to develop these disorders, while providing a network for sufferers to share support.

 

Through the website, I not only offer support to sufferers, but to health professionals who may need guidance in how to deal with the pressure men face.

 

*NOTE: Fixers sometimes go beyond the 16-25yr age bracket while working on their Fix

Here is a list of people who helped me with my Fix:

 

David Patrick

Ashley Day

Gareth Boughtwood

Samantha Ranson

Alice Colquhoun

Zaid Alkayat

Matthew MacDonell

Scarman Trust

A group in Brighton which works with people to empower them through personalised support.

  

Sheila McKechnie Foundation

A foundation which helps support projects by people making a difference to their communities. They assisted my Fix in getting my MGEDT movement started.

 

Santander Community Plus Initiative

A project run by Santander which awards money to projects which are making a difference. A grant here helped establish MGEDT.

 

Lorna Marchant – Eating Disorders Counsellor from Harpur Counselling Practice, Bedford
Lorna gave advice on the signs to look for regarding eating disorders in my first broadcast story.

 

Stacey Poole – Health Correspondent, ITV News Meridian

Featured me and publicised my website during Eating Disorders Week in 2009.

 

I have also received huge support on my Twitter and Facebook pages which are followed by thousands of people from around the UK and beyond.

November 2014

An article was published in the Telegraph by insideMAN's Editor Glen Poole, which includes my views on eating disorders awareness campaigns directed at men. Click here to read the article.

 

September 2014

Myself and fellow Fixer Adam Coles attended the Labour Party Conference in Manchester and took part in a Fixers debate with Tristram Hunt MP, Shadow Education Minister, on social action. We also had the opportunity to speak to Mr Hunt and an assembled audience about our projects.

 

I later attended the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham which was chaired by Chloe Smith MP. The panel also included Rajay Naik from the Open University and I discussed my own experiences of overcoming an eating disorder. 

 

July 2014

I showed my support for Fixers by encouraging others to vote for them as the UK's 'Best Charity' in the National Lottery Awards. To find out more, read the Daily Mail Online article.

 

April 2014

The past two years we have run workshop tours funded by the Lottery. We are now touring the country including Scotland and Northern Ireland for the first time.

 

I am still campaigning to raise awareness of male eating disorders and am continuing to work with my website to push my campaign nationally.

 

Since my Fixers project in 2008, the website has evolved into a concrete registered charity and my campaign has reached more than 10 million people across the world!

 

From local and national media coverage, to my UK tour offering training and advice to health professionals, MGEDT has gone from strength to strength.

 

I've also had the opportunity to take my campaign to the Department of Health to raise awareness of male eating disorders.

 

My story was recently featured by MSN Wellbeing. Click here to read the article.

 

26th February 2013

I attended the official UK-wide Fixers launch at Westminster, London, and talked about my project with fellow Fixers and a group of MPs.

  

 

Following on from a petition asking the Government to improve services and delivery of care for male eating disorders, I continue to provide training workshops across the country and have agreed to help other Fixers wishing to raise awareness of eating disorders with their projects. I have also secured some further funding and make regular contributions to the print and television media on related subjects.

 

22nd January 2013

I appeared on Channel 4's 'Supersize vs Superskinny'. You can read more about it and find a link to the programme by clicking here.

 

January 2012

MGEDT launched a new petition calling on the government to improve service provision for men with eating disorders both on policy and delivery levels – received 534 signatories

 


Since the start of my Fixers project, I have won many different awards from across the country, including:

 - Talk Talk Digital Heroes South East Award

 - Beacon Prize

 - Beat Awards

 - Mental Healthy Award for Heroic Community Champion

 

 

When the website was launched it was featured in:

 - BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat

 - Channel 4 News

 - The  Scotsman

 - Many regional newspapers and websites

 

 

I have also be quoted speaking about male eating disorders in:

 - Daily Express

 - Attitude magazine

 - Daily Mirror

 - BBC Inside Out

 - Daybreak (November 2012)

 - Channel 4's 'Supersize vs. Superskinny' (Jan 2013)

 - BBC Sussex Radio

 - BBC Tees Radio

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