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Student who beat eating disorder now running London Marathon

Ella White in her favourite place to run: Bristol's Harbourside

Ella runs along Bristol Harbourside

Left: Ella with her beloved dog Ooty. Right: Ella with fellow University of Bristol medical students

Press release issued: 27 March 2024

An inspirational student who spent nine months in an eating disorder clinic wants to show others “there is always hope”.

Ella White did all 22 of her GCSE exams in an inpatient unit 100 miles from her home. But she is now flourishing as a medical student at the University of Bristol, and is training hard to run the 26.2-mile London Marathon in aid of the mental health charity Mind.

Ella is sharing her story to show others that “you are not alone and there is always hope to keep on going, there is always a good thing coming for you”.

Ella was 16 when she was diagnosed with anorexia and was placed in an inpatient unit in Maidenhead, nearly three hours’ drive from her Yeovil home.

Writing on her JustGiving page, she said: ”I was really stuck and couldn't see a way out of the circle I was trapped in - in hindsight, I could quite easily still be an inpatient now, and I know this will be the case for young people in inpatient units all over the country.

“They were very dark days, but I met so many inspirational young people who are so very successful now.”

Ella started getting home leave six months into her admission, and later worked towards being discharged back home, supported by her parents. They were always by her side, and made the long journey up to visit her every weekend while she was an inpatient.

After acing her A-Levels she was accepted to study Medicine at the University of Bristol.

There, she learnt to love running through the medical students’ running society and the University’s ‘Bristol Run Series’ , a mix of virtual and in-person running events that help students, staff and the public get active.

“For so long my illness controlled everything,” said Ella, who volunteers playing piano at Southmead Hospital. “So for anyone going through something similar I would say ‘hold on’ – something good is coming, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

“Life is so much better than I ever thought it could have been - and I'm so glad that I stuck with my recovery and fought the battle to get where I am today.

“I only got the marathon place a few weeks ago and I don’t know if I can run that far but I’m going to give it a go.

“Doing the London Marathon had always been on my bucket list and to be doing it for Mind is very special to me.”

Waiting on the finish line on April 21 will be Ella’s parents, brother and 10 of her University friends.

To read more about Ella and to donate to her cause, visit her JustGiving page.

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