A number of you have gotten in touch to ask about Ashley Hall’s progress. I’m happy to report that, though the past month has not been an easy one for the Hall family, there is cause for optimism.
When I last wrote, 11-year-old Ashley, whose family lives in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, had checked into an eating disorder clinic in Florida to be treated for anorexia. Within a few days, however, the clinic specialists realized that Ashley was so frail that she could not effectively process information. For her to derive the greatest benefit from the program’s counseling component, Ashley would first need medical intervention.
So, on August 20, Ashley was admitted to hospital in Tallahassee, where a feeding tube was inserted to deliver nutrients directly to her system. Although this might have felt like a setback for the Halls, there was some good news.
Ashley’s doctor at the hospital has a terrific and extensive track record of treating kids with eating disorders. He’s even introduced Ashley and her parents to some of his former patients, to show them that recovery is possible. One former patient, now 30, healthy and studying to be a nurse, visits Ashley regularly to offer support and encouragement.
While Ashley has had some very difficult days over the past month, she has gained some weight — though doctors won’t reveal to her how much. And they won’t remove the feeding tube and discharge her until she gains another five or so pounds.
Nancy says Ashley’s face is already much brighter and her attitude and cooperation level have improved. She’s able to go to the hospital’s playroom to play board games, and, occasionally, to go outside for a bit of fresh air.
In their most recent update, Nancy and Philip report that Ashley’s doctors believe her anorexic behaviour is rooted in anxiety and depression. Now that her brain is functioning more clearly, they’ll begin treating Ashley for these underlying issues. If she responds well, she’ll still need ongoing treatment and counseling, but she may not need to return to the inpatient eating disorder program.
Either way, Ashley will spend her 12th birthday (September 26) in hospital. I thought that it might brighten her day if we sent birthday cards to show her how many of us are out here rooting for her.
Birthday greetings may be sent to:
Miss Ashley Hall
c/o Philip and Nancy Hall
6982 Grenville Rd.
Tallahassee, FL 32309
Though the Halls are clearly encouraged by Ashley’s improvement to date, their medical expenses continue to grow. The bill for Ashley’s current hospital stay has reached nearly $50,000 — and she’ll need to be in hospital at least another week or two.
Like most Bahamian families, the Halls don’t have health insurance. If you’d like to make a contribution to help with the cost of Ashley’s treatment, here’s how:
- In the U.S. and Canada, donations may be sent to Philip and Diana Hall (Diana is Nancy’s legal name) c/o 6982 Grenville Rd., Tallahassee, FL 32309
- In the Bahamas, donations can be made at any RBC branch to the Marsh Harbour account of “Philip and Diana Hall” (Diana is Nancy’s legal name). That should be enough information, but if you need the account number, email me.
- If you’d like to donate through PayPal, get in touch and I’ll send you the necessary information. Nancy and Philip don’t have a PayPal account, so I’ve been accepting donations on their behalf and wiring the funds on to their Bahamian bank account.
Nancy and Philip recently sent out the following email message, which I wanted to share with you:
“We do not have individual addresses to mail a card to everyone, but we truly appreciate each and every person who has shown us support in whatever amount you have given, whether big or small. IT HAS ALL BEEN A TREMENDOUS BLESSING AND A HELP!! THANK YOU!!”
Thank you to everyone who has sent their thoughts, prayers and contributions. Please know that the Hall family is incredibly grateful for your support.