Girl’s rare eating disorder has her feeling starving all the time
A mother is forced to leave her daughter screaming for food, as she suffers from a condition that causes her to feel ravenous all the time.
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A mother is forced to leave her daughter screaming for food, as she suffers from a condition that causes her to feel ravenous all the time.

Tracy Fitzgerald (36) ignores her seven-year-old Megan's cries for food as the rare genetic condition Prader-Willi Syndrome leaves her constantly hungry.

After Megan was diagnosed at just five weeks old, Tracy started to notice how regularly she’d cry out for feeding as she grew up.

Tracy, from Bilton in Hull, England, says to prevent her daughter from becoming obese and suffer other health complications, she has to ignore her outbursts.

 "When I tell her that she can’t have any more food she immediately starts to cry and scream, but I can't give in and feed her.

"She's got a set routine of when she can eat and as a family we all have to stick to that, so she doesn't even see anyone else eating food as it would trigger her.”

Tracy says they hardly ever eat out because Megan becomes extremely upset if other people's food is served before hers is ready.

"It is absolutely heartbreaking every time she has a breakdown and it's not a mother’s reaction to ignore her, but it has to be done."

After giving birth to her daughter eight weeks early, the mother-of-two was told from the outset that there was something wrong with her child.

Five weeks later the family were given the diagnosis of Prader-Willi syndrome. "We were told she had a chromosome abnormality.”

Alongside the need to eat, the condition also results in Megan having learning difficulties, so all her development milestones were delayed.

"She was out of hospital by the time she was six months old, but it wasn't until she was three years old that she could walk by herself.

"And by the age of four Megan would eat at any given opportunity and would have up to six times the amount of other children, which is why I need to restrict what she eats.”

As the little girl grew up, her urge to eat continued and she would even try to get her hands on any food she can find.

Over the years the family have found new ways to distract her.

“Although I can distract her most of the time, I can’t be there every second of the day.

"I didn't want to put locks on our kitchen cupboard and fridge, but it's looking more and more likely that I'm going to have to.

"She's at the age now where she can find ways to get food herself, which means we have to have a regimented approach to food.”

No food is ever left on show for Megan to see, the family have to completely avoid food at social events and can't even whisper anything about food as it will set her off.

Tracy says she’s sharing her daughter’s story to raise awareness of the condition.

"I’d never heard of the condition until my daughter was diagnosed with it, so I want more people to learn about it.

"If Megan has one of her moments when we're out in public, people can turn around and stare at us, and I look like a horrible mother – but people don't understand.

"Luckily all of Megan's friends and family are supportive and understanding, and make sure that they don't have food out around her.

"But as a lot of people don't understand the condition, they don't know how to act around her and what simple things can set her off.

"I hope that by sharing Megan's story, people will be able to understand the complexity of the condition."

 

 

 

 

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