Gemma Oaten talks emotionally about her eating disorder
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The brother of Emmerdale actress Gemma Oaten, 37, has issued an emotional tribute to his sister who battled anorexia since she was 12-years-old. Chris Charles shared a photograph of the siblings taken days before Gemma suffered a heart attack in her late teens.
Chris said: “It still haunts me to think I nearly lost her too many times, but it shows the severity of this devastating mental health illness.”
Chris is running the Virgin London Marathon to raise money for SEED Eating Disorder Support Services. The charity was set up by their mother, Marg Oaten, 21-years-ago to provide eating disorder sufferers and their carers with confidential and independent advice.
The charity has continued to grow and now offers many services such as workshop events, nutritional guidance, email and text support and advice for carers, reports HullLive.
More recently SEED launched tool kits in schools to help with early intervention, something which Chris said is “vitally important with this illness”.
Chris continued: “I have seen my sister go through many tough battles, visited her in referral units and hospitals not knowing if she would pull through. I would not wish this illness on any person or family.
“I have seen the devastating impact this illness has on not only sufferers but families and friends as the recovery can be a long drawn out process.
“I speak from the heart when I say that if by running the marathon I can help one person, one family, one friend not have to watch their loved ones go through this, then it will be truly worthwhile.”
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Chris also shared a second image from two years ago when the family attended a SEED gala, which showed a healthier looking Gemma.
He added: “Recovery is possible, this is why my family does what it does. To make sure no other family goes through this heart ache. Early intervention is key.”
Proud sister Gemma tweeted her support for her brother, saying: “So proud of my big brother running the London marathon for us at @SeedSupportUK. His words on this campaign made me bawl my eyes out.”
Chris is aiming to raise £10,000 for the charity, to find out more click here.
Additional reporting by Lisa Baxter.
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