Monday, October 1, 2007

Hey Kid! Drop the Challupa and Assume the Position!

Terrel Hunter is on the lam. He lives in daily fear of the authorities.

But it's no actual crime Hunter has committed. His offense: He eats too much.

Terrel Hunter, you see, is just a teenager. Where he belongs is in school. But he'd much rather stay home and stuff his face. So he sits around his inner-city apartment here in the District of Columbia and eats in secret. The curtains are drawn. He flinches at the sound of automobiles outside. When the cops finally do show up at his door, he goes kicking and screaming, threatening to sue their asses.

Terrel thinks nothing of a 1,400-calorie lunch at Wendy's. At age 10, he stood just over 4 feet tall and weighed 210 pounds. Terrel suffered from Blount's Disease, not uncommon in obese children, which left his legs deformed. He had trouble walking. At 13, he weighed 341 pounds and lived on a diet of Big Macs, pizza, orange soda, candy bars and instant ramen noodles.

Twice, Terrel has been sent to a fat farm for children outside Richmond, VA. He's lost weight, put it back on again. This year, his mother lost custody of Terrel for failing to watch his health. A D.C. judge has ordered him back to the fat farm.

Terrel is determined to quit school and stay home. He just wants to eat in peace.

You can read the amazing story Terrel--"Heavy T"--in its entirety at The Washington City Paper. Bravo to the City Paper and writer Joe Eaton.


Dreaming Mage said...

When I was 14, I would make the rounds of my father's large family, eating dinner with each of them... I knew their schdules and would show up just in time for dinner.

This was because my mother never could keep up with my appetite. For my 12th birthday, she gave me a Garfield t-shirt that said, "love me, feed me!"

But, though I was 6' tall at 13, I didn't go beyond 160 lbs. until I was 21.

It's not what you eat, it's what you do.


Ed Bruske said...

That is profound, Mage. Very interesting blog you have...

Nicole said...

This story is really sad. This child needs a medical advocate not a fat farm. He is a developing teenager and has the nutritional requirements of one. He needs to develop a healthy relationship with food, not lose weight at an unhealthy rate while depriving his developing body of what it needs. He also needs access to better treatments for his asthma despite his economic status-- not cheap steroid solutions that will exacerbate his issues with weight which in turn make the Blount's Disease worse.

He is obviously strong willed and his mother is incapable of dealing with the situation yet instead of getting her help, she is being threatened with jail. It is just another failure of the system to truly address the real problem at hand. All they can do is run in with a band aid.

The system seems to be on a crusade... although why this one child? Are they going to go after all parents of children with eating disorders? I would like to see what happens if they go after the parents of an obviously malnourished upper class privately educated anorexic white girl in north west with parents who are in denial over what their child is doing.