Overcoming the odds

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A TEENAGER who battled anorexia while caring for his mother has been awarded with a top honour.

David Dorrian, from Hartlepool, admits he had an obsession with losing weight after joining the gym and getting addicted to cardiovascular training and cutting his calories.

His weight plummeted from 14st 2lb to just 8st in a matter of months after his addiction got out of control and he was surviving on just a packet of steamed vegetables a day and soup.

Medics feared he could be close to death and were concerned about the effect on his internal organs.

But during a year-long battle with anorexia aged just 16, he continued to care for his mum Janet, who was diagnosed with the debilitating condition multiple sclerosis (MS) when she was 21 and has limited mobility.

But now the former High Tunstall College of Science student has overcome the odds and is fighting fit after a period of rehabilitation, including five months in hospital, and has been honoured with a Shrievalty Award from the High Sheriff of County Durham, the Honorary Harry Vane.

David, from Park Road, was one of 27 young people who were presented with an award during a grand ceremony at Durham Castle yesterday.

The 19-year-old who was nominated by Steve Plant, of Hartlepool Carers, said: “It was a rough road to recovery and I also suffered from depression.

“I was still caring for my mother, but didn’t even have the energy to push her wheelchair.”

But with help from staff at the Newberry Centre, in Middlesbrough, and other health organisations, David’s eating habits improved and he is now helping others with eating disorders.

David, who is studying a music technology and performance course at Hartlepool College of Further Education and hopes to be a guitar tutor, still attends the gym, but is healthier than ever and uses the facility only to tone up.

He had this advice for anyone else who feels they are in danger of slipping into the same trap of eating disorders: “If you don’t feel strong enough to cope, talk to someone and they will take control – get help.”

Speaking of the award, David added: “I feel really good about it.”

Mum-of-two Janet, who is married to Richard, a retired gardener at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, said: “Even though he had his own battle, David helped me, I am so proud of him.”

Also honoured was 15-year-old Bethan Birks, of Blackhall, who volunteers with the day-to-day running of East Durham Communicare, which transports elderly and disabled passengers.

The High Sheriff described the award winners as a “fine example to us all”.