By Lauren Fruen and Luke Kenton
A SCHOOLGIRL who suffers from a rare eating disorder was rushed to hospital with lead poisoning after she began gobbling PENCILS.
Jade Noakes, 13, has been fighting PICA her whole life.
It means the youngster, who also has autism, wants to eat objects that are not edible leaving her mum fearing for her only child’s life.
Jade has been hospitlised numerous times due to the condition and has even tried to eat erasers.
The rare condition has also left her with alcohol poisoning after she drank hand sanitiser and her family constantly fear she could choke if left alone.
Now her mum Nicole Noakes is hoping to raise the $17,000 to get Jade a service dog who will stop her from eating the things she shouldn’t.
She said the animal will allow her only child to “become the child she always wanted to be”.
Full time mum Nicole, 40, said: “Jade has been fighting pica her whole life and it has led to several medical issues.
“We first noticed it when she was four-years-old. We began to realise that wanting to put things in her mouth was not normal child behaviour anymore.
“She was eating sand and paper towels and licking shoes. If she has a phone in her hand or there is something next to her she will just pick it up and try to eat it.
“It has escalated over the years to the point where it is now dangerous. She will eat anything.
“I have constant anxiety. It’s a day to day, hour to hour battle. We do not know the next thing she will try and eat. I am so scared that one day we will not be able to save her. That we will be too far from the hospital. I am terrified what could be next.
“She has level 3 autism which is where her PICA comes from. She fights every day to try her best not to put things in her mouth but her sense of awareness is not there.
“Over the years she has suffered with lead, acetone and alcohol poisoning from the things that she eats.
“She got the lead poisoning from eating several pencils in a two day time span. The doctor at the hospital told us even though pencils aren’t made from lead anymore there’s a slight coating inside and from her eating so many of them that’s how she got it.
“The acetone poisoning came from eating cotton balls with nail polish remover on them.
“She has no idea she is doing it. For Jade is it like needing a glass of water when you are extremely thirsty.
“Jade was introduced to a service dog a few weeks ago who will help her with her pica. He would be able to sense when she was going to eat something and stop her with his paw and mouth.
“Sitting there watching her interact with the dog knowing that she was able to become the child she always wanted to be, her anxiety was gone.
“Not once during that time did she have to be told to get something out of her mouth and that feeling for me as her mom was amazing.
“It is hard as a parent. We have our struggles and it is difficult. I can’t be with her all the time.
“I spend my time worrying she will put something in her mouth and she will choke.
“But with the dog she was able to break out of her shell just for that short time and be 12.
“This life saving tool is the best way for her to finally be a child and a little bit more independent in her everyday living at home, at school, and in social settings. Quite simply the dog will save her life.”
Jade said: “I just black out. I don’t know what’s going on. It feels really weird.
“I do think ‘why me?’ I think that if we get the dog it will mean that in a few years we are having my birthday party instead of my funeral.”
Jade’s family are raising money to get her a service dog to help with her condition. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/service-dog-for-jade to help.