Marathon man Stephen scores a blistering success for charity

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An NHS Forth Valley consultant psychiatrist who went the extra distance - literally - for a cause he believes in has raised a small fortune for charity.

At the beginning of September Falkirk Herald reported how Stephen Anderson, who works with the eating disorder service, was training hard for the gruelling 26.2 mile course of the Glencoe Marathon.

It’s a challenging feat for even the most experience runner, as besides the actual distance involved the route involves running 1,600 metres uphill.

His mission was to raise money for Beat, an eating disorder charity,while also raising awareness of wha the illness is all about.

Today his Justgiving site reveals that since the run last Sunday he managed to reach and also exceed his original target of £1,500, and donations are still open at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stephenanderson1

A total of 59 supporters backed his effort, and his dedication received a stream of goodwill messages by people impressed by his effort.

Stephen said: “Eating disorders are complex mental and physical disorders and can be very difficult to recover from.

“There is often a perception that these disorders are all about weight and that the person has somehow chosen to be like this, and that is not the case at all.

“It is a genuine privilege being able to work with people in their recovery from these horrible illnesses but they generally need more support than we can provide within our eating disorder service”.

He added: “Patients and their loved ones need more support, and Beat provides a variety of options that people can access. “I am keen to help increase awareness of the support offered by Beat and to raise money to help Beat continue to deliver this support locally.”

An estimated 1.25 million people in the UK suffer from serious mental illnesses that include binge eating disorder, anorexia, bulimia and other types.

Beat’s National Officer for Scotland Sara Preston said: “Stephen’s effort will help ensure anyone affected by these dreadful illnesses can receive timely and effective treatment.

“Last year Beat directly supported over 17,000 people and this year we are hoping to help more than 40,000.

“The dedication of Stephen and other fundraisers and doctors like him is essential in achieving that goal.”

On his Justgiving page, Stephen jokes: “Thank goodness I didn’t look at the actual race before signing up for it.

“I thought that if I was going to run the race, I would do it for charity and wanted to raise money for something that is very important to me”.

He spells out exactly what the cash will do -

“£5 could fund a Helpline Advisor to answer emails from someone who is worried.

£50 could fund an online support session, giving those affected positive encouragement from other experiencing the same feelings.

£100 could provide a batch of posters to raise awareness of the early signs and symptoms.

£1100 runs the Beat Helpline for a day, helping an average of 68 people.

“Our trained staff are there 365 days a year for emotional support and practical guidance”.