Just as I was researching I came across the story of Samantha and Michaela Kendall, who were twins both suffering from anorexia. I felt I wanted to share this story with you all. Unfortunately they both died some years ago, Michaela first in 1994 and just 3 years later Samantha passed away too in 1997.
After reading an article published in The Independent (London) in 1997, I found it to be a devastating story. The twins weren’t from a planned pregnancy, and it was a total surprise when two babies came out instead of one. Their mother, Suzy Kendall, wasn’t in a good place, her husband had been put into prison for 9 months, when she was already months into her pregnancy, they hadn’t any money and so Suzy’s mother became one of the main people helping look after the twins. Suzy’s mother, the twins Grandmother, was the one who in the end bought them up from young, whilst Suzy spilt from the twins father after he dumped her for another woman, and moved into a house round the corner from the twins, and got herself a job. Suzy explained how her mother cooked for a living, so the twins were never left hungry, and they did put on weight. By the age of 14 the twins were said to be estimated at 14 stone each. When the girls went to school, they would get picked on because they were fat, and one day a boy called Michaela a fat blob. They then decided that through the summer holidays they would both start dieting together. Their Grandmother was getting annoyed with them not eating properly and Suzy says every time she went round, all she would see them with was an apple.
Suzy begun to get more and more concerned until she realised that it wasn’t dieting any more, but it was starvation. They would go to the chemist to by a bar called ‘Crunch and Slim’ and try to make that last them as their daily food intake. Or have a bit of a yoghurt, an apple between them, or open a bag of crisps, eat 2 and throw them away. Even though they were clearly battling with a dangerous illness and were always in and out of hospital, the twins tried to lead normal daily lives. They both got jobs and started relationships, and living with their boyfriends. Something I found shocking was that they both fell pregnant at the age of 22. Brilliant news! But with the twins insecurities, they both looked in the mirror at (what most expecting mothers would describe as their joyous belly bump) their stomachs and decided on the decision to both get an abortion because having a baby was going to make them ‘fat’.
They both eventually lost their jobs due to the way they looked. They had been working at a holiday camp, but was said to be putting people off their breakfasts when having to sit near them due to their size. Also they would get kicked out of cafe’s because of the way they looked. In the end Michaela’s boyfriend couldn’t handle it, and gave her the option of either anorexia, or their relationship. She chose anorexia, and moved back with her Grandmother. Samantha then dropped everything, split with her boyfriend and joined her sister at their Grandmothers house. Michaela was always the worst effected by anorexia and Samantha knew this. She would tell her to eat more because she looked like a skeleton, but Michaela would merely reply ‘You’re just jealous”. Michaela got to the stage where she spent 8 months in hospital, appealed, and then went home. It was a few weeks after being out of hospital that she died next to Samantha in the double bed they shared together.
It was an extremely hard time for their mother, Suzy. It was horrific that one daughter had died and she wanted to do anything possible not to let her other daughter go. None of the doctors or psychiatrists knew what to do, she felt like nobody had a clue, and felt like nobody knew how to help her. So she decided to write into a womans magazine, Chat, so that she could make the story internationally known to make more awareness and see if anybody would know how to help her or what to do. Eventually they found that there was a clinic in Canada which offered 24hr intense help for anorexia. Something which would change Samantha’s life for the better. Samantha agreed to this, and went over to Canada. It worked, she became much healthier and although in the beginning she never wanted to go back home, because of it reminding her of anorexia, toward the end of her treatment she wanted to be back with her parents and finish battling the illness with her mother by her side, being her back bone. She carried on doing well, until one day she looked in the mirror and said to her mother ‘Look what this food is doing to me’ she felt fat again. She went back to eating less and less, and realised she missed her sister so much, that she wanted to be where she was. She wanted to be with her twin. After 3 years since Michaela died, Samantha committed suicide, because she missed her sister and wanted to be with her, and even though it meant dying, it also meant she could be back with her soul mate, her other half.