We want some­thing pos­i­tive to come from our Pip’s death


Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By CHAR­LOTTE DOB­SON char­lotte.dob­son@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @dob­sonMEN

PIPPA McManus was a gen­tle soul, says her mum Marie.

Pippa, known as Pip, loved an­i­mals, art and help­ing at the hospice where her mum worked in Gat­ley, Stock­port.

But the young­ster’s life was cru­elly cut short when she stepped in front of a train, aged 15, af­ter a three-year bat­tle with anorexia.

It’s al­most three years since Pip’s death in De­cem­ber 2015 and Marie is still griev­ing for her lit­tle girl. But the McManus fam­ily are de­ter­mined that Pip’s life and suf­fer­ing was not in vain, and want to help other fam­i­lies in sim­i­lar, des­per­ate cir­cum­stances.

Marie, 53, de­spaired at the lack of sup­port for young peo­ple and their par­ents liv­ing with an eat­ing dis­or­der.

“From the be­gin­ning of Pip’s ill­ness we had no idea about anorexia at all,” says Marie. “We didn’t have a clue what we were deal­ing with and at times felt com­pletely help­less. There has got to be a lot of peo­ple in the same sit­u­a­tion right now.

“As a fam­ily we are dev­as­tated, but we are de­ter­mined that some­thing pos­i­tive comes out of this tragedy.”

Pip’s bat­tle with anorexia started at the age of 12 when she started as a pupil at Kingsway School in Gat­ley.

She be­came ‘ob­sessed’ with look­ing at her side pro­file in the mir­ror and at her chin, ask­ing if it was fat.

Though con­cerned, Marie and dad James did not ini­tially think much of it. But the teenager turned her ob­ses­sion to her diet and com­pul­sive ex­er­cise. When Pip be­gan los­ing weight, Marie took her to the doc­tors to get some ad­vice.

“They looked her up and down and told me I shouldn’t be con­cerned about her healthy eat­ing,” says Marie.

“The fo­cus at the time was on kids be­ing over­weight or obese. They told me not to worry about it.

“Look­ing back I can now see all the lit­tle signs. All those things were the on­set of her ill­ness but you just don’t think about it like that at the time.”

Marie took her daugh­ter home and Pip’s pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with eat­ing and ex­er­cise got worse.

It was the year of the Lon­don Olympics, and Pip took an in­ter­est in ath­letes who were all over the me­dia at the time.

“She said if I do lots of run­ning I’ll get long legs mum, and so she started run­ning,” says Marie. In Jan­uary 2013, Marie took her daugh­ter back to the doc­tor for more ad­vice. Pip had lost more weight, and Marie ex­plained she was now ex­er­cis­ing all the time. “It was com­pul­sive,” says Marie. “It goes handin-hand with the ill­ness. She would walk for miles and miles.” A month and sev­eral vis­its to the doc­tors later, Pip was fi­nally di­ag­nosed with anorexia. Her ill­ness was ‘spi­ralling out of con­trol’ and she was al­ready se­verely un­der­weight. “I brought her home and it spi­ralled out of con­trol. In that pe­riod be­tween go­ing to the doc­tor and com­ing home you have no­body. You just have no sup­port and you’re wor­ried. It’s just all a vi­cious cir­cle.”

Pip was re­ferred to Stock­port chil­dren’s and ado­les­cent men­tal health ser­vice (CAMHs) and ad­mit­ted to a spe­cial­ist unit, Gal­axy House. Aged 13 Pip, was de­tained un­der the men­tal health act and later ad­mit­ted to The Pri­ory. Her ill­ness started to man­i­fest it­self in other ways, in­clud­ing self-harm and sui­ci­dal thoughts.

At times she would tell Marie and Jim she was hav­ing ‘bad thoughts’ – a term Pip used to de­scribe the voice of anorexia and self-harm in her head.

Pip had been due for re­lease from The Pri­ory in Novem­ber 2015 but this was de­layed when it was dis­cov­ered she had bound her feet in tape for two weeks, be­liev­ing they were fat.

At that point Pip had been at the psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal for more than a year.

And de­spite con­cerns from her par­ents that her treat­ment had stalled, she was re­leased un­der a com­mu­nity treat­ment or­der on De­cem­ber 4, 2015.

Just five days later, she trav­elled to Gat­ley sta­tion and stepped in front of a train. Marie, Jim and their three other adult chil­dren are still deal­ing with the loss and have set up The Pip Foun­da­tion for ABC Anorexia & Bulimia Care in their daugh­ter’s me­mory. Their vi­sion is to cre­ate a ded­i­cated in­de­pen­dent sup­port cen­tre for Anorexia and Bulimia in Manch­ester called Pip’s Place. The first-ever in­de­pen­dent cen­tre would pro­vide guid­ance for early in­ter­ven­tion, on-go­ing sup­port and ed­u­ca­tion to fam­i­lies in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances.

Marie be­lieves there is a des­per­ate need for the ex­tra sup­port when faced with such a dif­fi­cult ill­ness.

To achieve their ini­tial goal they are try­ing to raise £40,000 to es­tab­lish a weekly drop-in hub. So far, their JustGiv­ing page has raised al­most £12,000.

The ‘dream,’ long-term am­bi­tion is to raise £1 mil­lion to fund a new build­ing with staff and all the nec­es­sary items to bring it to life and se­cure the ser­vices for years to come. “We never want an­other fam­ily to go through what we have gone through,” says Marie.

“If we can help one per­son then it will be worth it. We’re ap­peal­ing for any­one who can to sup­port us.”

To help go to https://www.justgiv­ing. com/fundrais­ing/the-pip-foun­da­tion

If we can help one per­son then it will be worth it. We’re ap­peal­ing for any­one who can to sup­port us Marie McManus

Marie McManus and, in­set, daugh­ter Pip

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