Team at Novotel Liverpool Paddington Village put on walking shoes for cause close to their hearts

On 7 June, staff from Novotel Liverpool Paddington Village will be taking part in a sponsored walk around the city to raise funds for ARFID Awareness UK.

They made a unanimous decision to make ARFID Awareness UK their chosen charity for the year, and their sponsored walk is the first of a series of fundraising activities they’ll be taking part in for the charity.

The charity has a special significance to the team, as Regional Finance Manager Emma Taylor’s youngest son, Oliver, suffers from Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (more commonly known as ARFID). This condition is characterised by a person avoiding certain foods, and in Oliver’s case, it has led to him being so terrified of food that he hasn’t eaten for more than 18 months and is now being fed by a tube.

Oliver

Emma is a passionate advocate for Oliver, and for the many other children like her son, whose lives have been turned upside down by this condition. She explained that around 10% of calls to Beat (the eating disorders helpline) are about ARFID, but that despite this, there’s still very little awareness about the condition within the medical profession or the wider community.

She explained that this can have devastating consequences for ARFID sufferers and their families, meaning that it can be difficult to get a diagnosis or to access suitable treatment, and also that because people know so little about ARFID, “There can be a lot of parent blaming that goes on, and people saying ‘it’s just picky eating’ or ‘he’ll eat when he gets hungry’ but he won’t.”

Oliver is currently being kept alive by a tube, but is not old enough to receive further support for his condition through the NHS. And Emma is hugely concerned for the many ARFID sufferers who are currently slipping through the net.

The mother of Alfie Nicholls whose son died of ARFID, which was not spotted by medics, after she’d repeatedly taken him to the GP surgery and to the hospital to try to get help will be joining the Novotel team on their sponsored walk, to help to raise awareness about the condition.

Emma said, “I’m so grateful to Lucy, Alfie’s mother, for joining our walk, and I’m so appreciative to all of my colleagues for taking this charity into their hearts. This is such an under-researched condition and unfortunately we can’t change the world, but we can certainly try and make life easier for people with ARFID and for their families.”

She added: “A lot of the time, when you donate to a big charity, your money doesn’t go that far, but in this case, with a small donation, you can raise so much awareness and help to save lives.”

General Manager, Howard Lewis, said, “As a team, we want to work together to support Emma in all the fantastic work she’s doing to raise awareness and funds to help people with ARFID. It’s a cause that’s close to all of our hearts and this week’s sponsored walk is the first of a series of fundraising activities we’ll be taking part in for ARFID Awareness UK.”  

Donations for the sponsored walk can be made here.

Image: Emma, Oliver, and Matty

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