A WOMAN who has suffered with severe eating disorders since she was a teenager is setting up a charity and support group in York to help others affected by the devastating condition.

Rachel Jones, 27, from Sutton- on-Derwent, who as a teenager was given just weeks to live, is currently working with York Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) on the project and will hold the first group meeting on Monday.

Rachel is still battling anorexia and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and said she set up the group because there was a lack of independent groups in York for long-term sufferers such as herself.

Rachel started showing signs of OCD at the age of seven and later went on to develop an eating disorder.

She said: “At the age of ten or 11 when I started senior school I weighed about four-and-a-half stone. My mum used to take me to the doctors, but they just said I was a fussy eater. In the 1990s there wasn’t really a recognition that children could have eating disorders.”

At the age of 19 the situation got so bad doctors gave Rachel just two weeks to live.

“Now she says she wants to prevent others from having to go into special care units but also to prevent others from relapsing into dangerous eating habits.

“People still have a very distorted view of what an eating disorder is,” she said. “People think there’s a pro-anorexia bond between people with the disorder and it’s not like that at all.”

She said: “I firmly believe that support, inspiration and a sense of unity can be gained from fellow sufferers and I want it to be a very positive group. An eating disorder is a very taboo subject and it can be a very lonely illness – we are working to dispel this.”

The first meeting of FED (Fighting Eating Disorders) takes place at 5.30pm in the Friends Meeting House in Friargate, on Monday.

For more information, phone 07515 701 734.