Former anorexia sufferer-turned-author visits University of Lincoln

Students at the University of Lincoln have heard the inspiring story of an anorexia sufferer who went from being almost dead to the author of a new book.

Hope Virgo (26) suffered with anorexia when she was just 13 years old and was speaking as part of this week’s positive body image campaign.

Hope Virgo suffered from anorexia when she was just 13 and is now a mental health campaigner and author. Photo: Jarrad Johnson

Her condition became so bad that doctors told her that if she continued to starve herself and not eat properly, she would die from organ failure as a result of the anorexia.

Hope described her symptoms as extreme weight loss, yellowing skin, hair loss, as well as her heart slowing down.

Since then she’s become a mental health campaigner by writing blogs, running marathons, giving talks and now authoring a book called ‘Stand Tall Little Girl’ which goes into detail about her story – giving an insight, too, into the perspective of her close family who were watching the troubling times unfold.

Hope said: “The whole book is about saying ‘life can be really rubbish and throw so many obstacles at you, but you’ve just got to stick with it, stand tall and keep fighting.’

“I remember when I first went into hospital, I thought that no one else understood what it was like to have an eating disorder.

“So I wanted to share my story to help those people who are struggling and encourage people to open up about [their struggles].”

There is currently an online petition calling for the introduction of compulsory mental health education in schools for children as young as five years old.

Hope supports the petition – which currently has over 35,000 signatures – saying: “One in three children have a mental health problem and can start under the age of 14.

“It can make children more anxious if they’re worried that they don’t know the reason why they’re feeling miserable, so mental health education will enable children to talk more about things and teach them how to manage their mental health for when they get older.”

Watch our live chat with Hope below:

You can pre-order ‘Stand Tall Little Girl’ here.