Nikki Grahame fans pledge £70,000 for funeral costs and fighting eating disorders as star's GoFundMe page is reactivated
NIKKI Grahame's fans have now pledged an incredible £69,349 for her funeral costs and to support the fight against eating disorders.
The GoFundMe page that was set up to fund Nikki's treatment for anorexia prior to her death on Friday was reopened to cover funeral costs and to raise money for charity.
The 38-year-old Big Brother icon was admitted to a specialist clinic earlier this year as her "last hope" to get better, but she tragically died following a three-decade battle with anorexia.
The fundraiser's target was initially £25,000, with big-hearted celebs including Rylan Clark-Neal, Michelle Visage, and Vanessa Feltz each donating £500.
It has now raised nearly three times that amount.
On the page, the star's friends Carly Cunningham and Leon Dee thanked everyone for their support and kind messages.
They said: "We just wanted to let you know that we are turning donations back on for anyone that would like to make a donation in Nikki's memory, as lots of people have been asking if they can still donate.
"An amount will be used for the funeral costs and the remaining funds will be used to go towards an organisation that helps those suffering with eating disorders, the crucial funding that has been lacking to help people in these awful situations has not been addressed, we will use this money to the best of our ability to try and stem this horrific, debilitating illness.
"We also would like to thank people who have sent private messages with lovely words about Nikki, she would be so thankful."
Nikki had been open about her anorexia battle since finding fame in Big Brother back in 2006, releasing autobiography Dying To Be Thin in 2009.
She fought the illness since childhood and was first admitted to a psychiatric hospital at the age of 12 following a suicide bid.
At one point, Nikki had to be force fed through a nasal tube after she starved herself.
Despite her battle with the eating disorder, Nikki's bubbly personality – and dramatic reactions – made her an instant hit when she entered Big Brother in series seven in 2006.
One of her classic moments was when she cried "Who is she?!" about a new housemate in the Diary Room chair, while her relationship with eventual winner Pete Bennett won the hearts of viewers.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
Nikki also appeared as a guest housemate in series 16 in 2015 and took part in the fourth series of Big Brother Canada the following year, finishing in sixth place.
Her success on Big Brother lead to her winning a National Television Award for Most Popular TV Contender.
As well as her TV work – which included appearances on shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats and Celebrity Coach Trip – Nikki also published two books about her battle with anorexia, Dying To Be Thin in 2009 and Fragile in 2012.
- For help and support on eating disorders and body image, you can call Beat Eating Disorders on 0808 201 1677 for adults, or 0808 801 0711 if you are under 18
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