MOM ON A MISSION Sandra Henry is making the trek from Fairmont to Calgary by foot to raise money for her daughter Savannah's ongoing anorexia treatment. Photo by Breanne Massey

MOM ON A MISSION Sandra Henry is making the trek from Fairmont to Calgary by foot to raise money for her daughter Savannah’s ongoing anorexia treatment. Photo by Breanne Massey

Sandra Henry is planning to travel from Fairmont to Calgary on foot in 30 C degree heat.

She opted to walk-run 300 kilometres the equivalent of seven marathons in 10 days to raise money for her teenage daughter Savannahs anorexia treatment in Portugal.

Ms. Henry, 52, expects to make it to Eau Claire Mall in Calgary to conclude the journey, while raising awareness about the impending dangers of anorexia and raising money to pay the $1,429 per day for Savannahs treatment costs.

The Henry family has already re-mortgaged their house, borrowed $200,000 from extended family and spent a grand total of $400,000 for 10 months of ongoing treatment at the Cegonha Retreat Clinic in Alvor, Portugal.

She was diagnosed with anorexia when she was 11, said Ms. Henry, noting the problem is rooted within

Savannahs mind. Now, shes 17 and weve tried everything.

The Henry family tried to find help for Savannah in their hometown Calgary, but were ultimately denied when they found out that Alberta doesnt offer care programs for children under the age of 14.

She went downhill, so we ended up taking her to a treatment centre (Remuda Ranch) in Arizona, she said, noting the residential program in the United States of America helped Savannah gain weight but spent very little time helping to correct her problematic way of thinking.

She was there for three months and she got better weight-wise, but her mind was still not willing to recover so we carried on and carried on. I basically did a meal plan and followed her around with food. We tried several different things, everything, different therapists and doctors, and Id heard that the BC Childrens Hospital was good so we ended up moving to B.C.

Savannah Henry

Savannah Henry

The decision to relocate to B.C. stemmed from a call that Ms. Henry placed to the BC Childrens Hospital where she was informed their treatment program caters to residents of the province first. Ultimately, there were no spots available for treatment of people from another province.

Long story short, we moved to Fairmont Hot Springs two years ago, said Ms. Henry. And sure enough, she went downhill again.

After being admitted to the BC Childrens Hospital on February 11th, 2014, Savannah stayed there for four months.

They put weight on her, but they didnt work with her mind, said Ms. Henry. They deemed her kind of treatment-resistant because she wouldnt work with them, so she got out after four months and got even worse.

Savannah weighed about 80 to 85 pounds when the Henry family took her to Portugal for treatment on September 17th, 2014.

Its way different in Portugal, said Ms. Henry. There are health workers and nurses with them all the time, so she basically has her own private nurse. There are three shifts. Somebody comes in at 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., another person comes in at 4 p.m. and works until midnight and then somebody is there all night as well; so theyre never alone with the bully in their head. They always have somebody to fight it for them or with them, until theyre strong enough to fight on their own.

Ms. Henry believes the new approach is gradually working its magic and wants to keep Savannah at the treatment centre until she develops a new way of thinking health and wellness.

Now, shes able to fight back a little bit and I think if she can stay there, shell be free, said Ms. Henry.

The Saving Savannah fundraiser will begin with a kick-off party at the Hoodoo Bar and Grill in Fairmont for people to show their support, listen to music and enjoy a meal or drinks at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24th. Ms. Henry plans to start her trek at 7 a.m. the next morning, aiming to be in Invermere by 11 a.m. before heading to Radium where Canyon RV Resort on Sinclair Creek has donated her first nights stay.

Every $25 donation to the cause allows contributors to enter a chance to win two round trip tickets anywhere WestJet flies, a $100 donation gets you five entries to the contest, but donations in any amount are welcome.

Entries for the WestJet prize are available at Valley Spas in Athalmer or the Hoodoos Bar and Grill in Fairmont. Ms. Henry will be drawing the prize winner for the contest when she arrives at Eau Claire Mall in Calgary on July 4th.

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