• 02:29
  • 24.08.2017
Mum who made a ‘diet pact’ with her son left heartbroken after the 21-year-old dies
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23.08.2017

Mum who made a ‘diet pact’ with her son left heartbroken after the 21-year-old dies

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A MUM who made a diet pact with her son seven years ago has been left heartbroken after the 21-year-old died from an eating disorder.

Stevie Brazier had ballooned to 19 stone 7lb after breaking his leg in a motorbike accident as a teenager, so mum Melanie, 52, was initially delighted when he agreed they should lose weight together.

But it soon became an unhealthy obsession for Stevie, who spiralled into a cycle of depression, obsessive exercising, binge eating and making himself sick 25 times a day.
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In February 2014, Melanie, of the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, found him dead in his bedroom. He had died from a cardiac arrest.

Now, more than three years on, she is still struggling to come to terms with losing her boy.

“I miss him so much and wish I’d never started the stupid diet,” she said.
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“But most of all I am desperate no other mum should go through what I went through.”

Melanie and Stevie’s nightmare began back in 2007 when she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

She was 5ft 4in and 16 stone, and doctors warned her she urgently needed to lose weight in order to manage the condition.
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When Stevie, then 14, offered to join his mum on a “proper diet”, she was initially delighted.

“He’d noticed on his hospital notes he’d been classed as clinically obese,” Melanie told The Mirror. “It upset him.”

The 6ft 2in teenager ate healthily at first and enjoyed the results as both he and his mum began to shed their excess pounds.
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Melanie recalled: “We enjoyed cooking chicken stir fries. Stevie was getting compliments and he was really pleased.

“He bought some little weights and started exercising.”

But Stevie, who had Aspergers and was home-schooled, took the challenge to another level.
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By 2011 he was starving himself to death, making himself vomit up to 25 times a day.

“One day he bent over and his T-shirt rode up,” said Melanie.

“I noticed a roll of skin hanging over his bottom and his spine jutting out.
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“It was a shocking sight and I gasped. He’d been hiding in baggy jumpers so I’d not noticed how much weight he’d lost.”

Stevie became fanatical about weighing himself and lied about his eating habits.

Melanie explained: “When he did sit down for a family meal he would disappear to the bathroom for up to an hour afterwards.
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“I’d also wake in the night to hear his exercise bike going.”

His parents took Stevie to a psychiatrist who diagnosed him with anorexia and bulimia.
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“(The psychiatrist) told us he’d thought about taking his (own) life,” said Melanie.

“It was like being punched in the stomach, hearing that. She wanted to admit him there and then but it would have cost £850 a night and we couldn’t afford it.”

Stevie was referred to an eating disorder clinic in Kent called The Red House and began receiving treatment as an outpatient.
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In April 2012 his condition declined sharply and he was finally admitted as an inpatient.

However, he ran away just hours after the paperwork was signed.

“They had been awaiting blood test results,” Melanie said.
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“His potassium levels were dangerously low and his heart could stop at any time.”

When Stevie turned up at home, his parents whisked him off to Medway Maritime Hospital, also in Kent, where he was put on a drip.

Melanie recalled: “He was temporarily sectioned and I was told he would be admitted to the secure unit so he couldn’t escape.
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“But they discharged him. He promised he’d eat. He’d say anything to get out of hospital.”

Stevie returned home but found himself in Medway’s accident and emergency unit less than 10 days later after his pulse became “as faint as a 90-year-old’s”.

He went into cardiac arrest, but doctors revived him and he was admitted into the hospital’s high dependency unit.
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Stevie spent another week there before being sectioned the month after.

Melanie said: “He had a mental health nurse with him 24/7, but somehow he still escaped.

“I was at the end of my tether. He was bingeing up to 25 times a day. I caught him standing in front of the fridge gorging on raw, frozen chicken nuggets.”
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In August 2012, Stevie was referred to a specialist facility where he was sectioned again.

There, with somebody assigned to him every minute of the day, he began to make progress.

But it wasn’t long before Stevie’s demons again got the better of him and he resumed his obsessive exercise routine.
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By this stage his body could no longer take the punishment and a month later his kidneys began to fail.

“He spent two weeks in hospital and they were thinking of putting him on the transplant list, but he recovered,” said Melanie.

She said things only got worse after Stevie was allowed out for day visits. On these occasions he would go to a cafe and “have a latte with about 20 sweeteners in it then disappear to be sick”.
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In August 2013, Stevie was discharged and the section was lifted the following month, leaving his parents no choice but to care for their physically and mentally frail son at home.

One morning in February 2014, Stevie’s heart gave up.
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“He’d eaten toast and said he didn’t feel well,” Melanie recalled. “I knew he’d been sick.

“I told him to rest and if needed me to call me.

“When he wasn’t up by 10.45am the next day, I went up to his bedroom because it was unusual.
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“I knew he was dead as soon as I saw him. Heartbroken doesn’t describe how I felt.”

Three years later, Stevie’s family is still struggling to come to terms with their loss.

Melanie said: “From the day he was born we did everything together. Living without him, knowing the pain he was in during what should have been his best years, it’s broken me.
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“If, by sharing Stevie’s story, it helps one other mum spot signs earlier than I did, or makes them fight harder to get the care their child needs, then I know he didn’t die for nothing.”

Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust have admitted that Stevie did not receive the care he needed.

“Communications between those services providing care for Mr Brazier was not adequate,” a trust spokesperson said in a statement.
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“We have put measures in place to help improve communications channels. Eating disorders are a specialist and complex area and patients should expect a standard of service which was not provided on this occasion.”

This article originally appeared on News.com.au.

Today we reported how a charity has warned that Lily Collins’ "highly distressing" anorexia film To The Bone is "too dark" for sufferers to bear.
Timeline: Deadly attacks in Europe

Earlier this week we told how an anorexic young woman whose weight plummeted to 5st 7lb after she became obsessed with "healthy" eating said body building saved her life.
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