Rachael Farrokh

Submitted by on Oct 23, 2015

Dying anorexic actress whose desperate video plea for help touched hearts across the world is receiving life-saving hospital treatment – and has stood for first time in months

By Sophie Jane Evans For Dailymail.com 21:30 30 Jun 2015, updated 11:16 01 Jul 2015

  • Rachael Farrokh, 37, developed anorexia nervosa more than decade ago
  • She is emaciated and weighs ’40-something’ pounds at five-foot-seven
  • Hospitals ‘refused to take her because her low weight made her liability’
  • One Colorado hospital agreed to treat her – but deemed airlift too risky
  • Eventually, UC San Diego Medical Center in California accepted actress
  • She is now receiving life-saving treatment near her San Clemente home
  • Recently, she managed to stand up with the help of specialized machine
  • Public raised nearly $200,000 following Ms Farrokh’s video plea in May
  • Ms Farrokh’s husband has quit his job to become her full-time caregiver 

A dying anorexic actress whose desperate plea for help touched hearts across the world is finally receiving life-saving treatment at a California hospital – and has stood up for the first time in months.

Rachael Farrokh, 37, who is five-foot-seven and weighs a mere ’40-something’ pounds, made the headlines in May after posting a video online, detailing her 10-year battle with anorexia nervosa.

In the footage, she explained how her condition had declined in recent months – but no hospitals near her San Clemente home would treat her because her ‘dangerous’ weight made her a ‘liability’.

In subsequent weeks, well-wishers raised nearly $200,000 in donations for Ms Farrokh, some of which were spent on a ‘handpicked’ medical team, which provided medical care at her bedside.

But now, Ms Farrokh has eventually been accepted into the UC San Diego Medical Center after doctors at a hospital in Colorado apparently concluded it was too risky for her to be flown there.

Standing up: Rachael Farrokh, 37, is finally receiving life-saving treatment at a California hospital – and has stood up for the first time in months. Above, she is seen lifting himself to her feet with the help of a machine Determined: Ms Farrokh, who is five-foot-seven and weighs a mere ’40-something’ pounds, has not been able to stand up or walk since her decade-long disorder severely declined, leaving her emaciated and bed-bound And she’s up! With a harness around her back and a nurse beside her, the patient visibly strains and grits her teeth as she pulls herself to her feet at the UC San Diego Medical Center, which eventually accepted her Ms Farrokh is pictured in a previous YouTube video, thanking well-wishers for raising nearly $200,000 She poses with her devoted husband, Rod Edmondson, before her condition worsened

The actress’s devoted husband, Rod Edmondson, who quit his job to become his wife’s 24-hour caregiver when her condition worsened, shared the ‘exciting news’ on Facebook on June 20.

The ex-personal trainer said: ‘We finally made it! Thanks to all of you who have been sending good thoughts. We are so excited to tell everyone that we are now safely in an Eating Disorder facility.

‘We have a lot of work ahead of us but with the love and support we will fight this to recovery!’

He added that doctors at Denver Health Medical Center – the only hospital that had initially agreed to treat Ms Farrokh – had ruled it was too dangerous to airlift her to its ACUTE eating disorder center.

‘Due to the concerns the doctors had at the hospital about her taking a medical airlift, they reached out to multiple hospitals,’ he told the 3,600 people he is now friends with on his Facebook page.

‘UCSD had called us recently and after much back and forth, they thankfully decided to take her on. It was only about an hour by ambulance and she handled it like a champ.’

Aside from therapy to build up her strength, the details of Ms Farrokh’s treatment remain unclear.

Staff will likely attempt to start the refeeding process without giving her too many calories at once (something Mr Edmondson warns could ‘kick up her metabolism’ and cause even more weight loss).

In good spirits: Ms Farrokh is pictured being wheeled into the UC San Diego Medical Center on June 20 after doctors at a hospital in Denver, Colorado, apparently determined it was too risky for her to be flown there Mr Edmondson (pictured with his Ms Farrokh) quit his job to become his wife’s 24-hour caregiver when her condition spiraled downward. He shared the ‘exciting news’ of her new treatment on Facebook on June 20 Too risky to airlift: The ex-personal trainer said: ‘We finally made it! Thanks to all of you who have been sending good thoughts. We are so excited to tell everyone we are now safely in an Eating Disorder facility’ Hospital: He added that doctors at Denver Health Medical Center – the only hospital that had initially agreed to treat Ms Farrokh – had ruled it was too dangerous to airlift her to its ACUTE eating disorder center. They had subsequently reached out to ‘multiple hospitals’ for help – and UCSD (pictured) agreed to take Ms Farrokh

Since Ms Farrokh’s admission to the hospital, Mr Edmondson has uploaded several videos of his wife, including one of her meeting Chopper the Biker Dog, a Boston terrier that visits hospitals.

In the latest video, Ms Farrokh is captured using a specialized machine to stand up – something she has not been able to do since her decade-long disorder severely declined, leaving her bed-bound.

With a harness around her back and a nurse beside her, the patient visibly strains and grits her teeth as she pulls herself to her feet. Mr Edmondson captioned the footage: ‘#determination.’

He told his Facebook friends of his wife: ‘Even though she has been working daily through a lot of pain, she has kept her promise and is fighting hard. We thank you for your encouraging words.’

It comes just five weeks after Ms Farrokh posted a video on YouTube thanking well-wishers for their donations – now totaling a whopping $196,427 – which she said had given her ‘a chance to live’.

In the YouTube  video, Rachael Farrokh revealed that the $185, 902 raised by members of the public had paid for a ‘handpicked’ team of medics to treat her at her bedside in Southern California.

Emotional: It comes just five weeks after Ms Farrokh posted a video on YouTube (above) thanking well-wishers for their donations – now totaling a whopping $196,427 – which she said gave her ‘a chance to live’ Shocking: In the YouTube video, the 37-year-old also revealed that the $186,000 raised by members of the public has paid for a ‘handpicked’ team of medics to treat her at her bedside in Southern California. Above, Ms Farrokh is filmed being helped to her feet by her husband, Ron Edmondson, who is now her full-time caregiver Weak: Ms Farrokh said area hospitals wouldn’t treat her because her ‘dangerous’ weight made her a ‘liability’

Sitting in her bed with a black vest top exposing her tiny frame, she told viewers: ‘Hi, everyone. It’s me, Rachael. I want to thank you all for everything you are doing for us. It’s been so overwhelmingly good in our lives. And i actually have a chance to live. What you guys have done has been amazing.’

‘Because of you guys, I was able to see the doctor again. She instructed me on what the proper care right now for me is – to stay here. And she arranged for having a handpicked team of what I need to be brought here at my bedside, until I can build up to get to the treatment I can get to.

We are so excited to tell everyone that we are now safely in an Eating Disorder facility. We have a lot of work ahead of us but with the love and support we will fight this to recovery! Rod Edmondson, husband

‘But right now, the treatment that I need is coming here – and it’s because of you. And it’s going to be a long recovery, could be three to five years. but with your support, I know I can do this.’

Ms Farrokh’s ‘handpicked’ medical team included a doctor, a registered nurse, a therapist, and other specialists.

The video was posted several weeks after Ms Farrokh uploaded her first video to YouTube, pleading with viewers to help her conquer her ‘very severe kind of anorexia’ by donating ‘anything you can’.

In the first video. a gaunt-looking Ms Farrokh said: ‘I’ve been suffering from this for quite a while now. I’m five-[foot]-seven, 40-something pounds and no hospitals will even take me at this point.

‘There’s one hospital across the country [Denver Health Medical Center] that can help, and my chances are very slim. We need your help. Rod is now my 24-hour caregiver.

‘In order for us to get [to the hospital that can help]. and I’m not one to ever ask for help. I need your help, otherwise I don’t have a shot. And I’m ready to get better.’

Ms Farrokh met Mr Edmondson, 41, while he was working as a personal trainer at her gym. Prior to her battle with anorexia, she was a beautiful, active, healthy woman, Mr Edmondson told ABC .

Plea: The actress hit the headlines after posting a desperate video plea (above) about her anorexia nervosa Couple: Ms Farrokh met Mr Edmondson, 41, while he was working as a personal trainer at her longtime gym. Prior to her battle with anorexia, she was beautiful, healthy woman, Mr Edmondson said. Above, the couple are pictured in a Facebook photo taken years ago – before Ms Farrokh suffered the severe decline in her illness

‘She was a very active individual growing up, she was a perfectionist,’ he said. On Facebook, Ms Farrokh has posted a photo of herself looking healthy in sports gear, taken many years ago.

‘At first, it was innocent, I wanted to drop a few pounds to get better abs,’ said Ms Farrokh, adding that a sudden job loss and a painful memory from her past had allowed her anorexia to creep in.

As her disorder ‘spiraled out of control’, the actress saw her weight drop from a healthy 125 pounds to a much lower figure. And in recent months, it has dropped even further – to below 50 pounds.

Ms Farrokh declined to reveal her exact weight to the news station. But in both of her videos, her chest bones can be seen sticking up through her skin, and her knee bones jut out of her legs.

‘My sister gave me a collage of pictures of when I was acting or doing certain things,’ said Ms Farrokh, who spends her time in a hospital bed inside her house and cannot walk on her own.

‘I look at that girl, the head shot, it’s only a few years old. It’s like I know I’ve wasted this much of my life. I just want to be that person again – that strong, independent woman that can be herself.’

Sick: Ms Farrokh said a sudden job loss and a painful memory from her past had allowed anorexia to creep in

Dangerously thin: As her disorder ‘spiraled out of control’, the actress saw her weight drop from a healthy 125 pounds to a much lower figure. And in recent months, it has dropped even further – to below 50 pounds

Because of her condition, Ms Farrokh, who lists her occupation as ‘Actor’ on Facebook, has previously suffered from heart and liver failure, and has had to undergo blood transfusions.

She has also experienced a decline in mental ability as her body continues to ‘shut down’.

‘At such a low body weight, my brain is a little slower than I would like, Ms Farrokh told ABC. ‘Sometimes, you’ll forget what you said a few seconds ago. You’re just not on your game.’

WHAT IS ANOREXIA NERVOSA? 

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that is characterized by an abnormally low body weight and an intense fear of gaining weight.

Sufferers typically have a distorted perception of their bodies.

They may either restrict the amount of food they eat, or control the amount of calories they consume by vomiting after meals.

They also might attempt to lose weight by engaging in excessive exercise.

Symptoms include extreme weight loss, abnormal blood counts, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, thin or easily breakable hair, a lack of menstruation (in women) and dry skin,

The condition can be life-threatening.

The Mayo Clinic  says: ‘Anorexia isn’t really about food. It’s an unhealthy way to try to cope with emotional problems.

‘When you have anorexia, you often equate thinness with self-worth.’

On the GoFundMe page, Mr Edmondson writes: ‘My lovely wife and I have been together for more than a decade and she will be seeing her final days if we don’t take action! ‘Her weight continues to plummet to a weight that’s extremely dangerous.

‘She has been fighting through a disease that has the highest mortality rate of all psychological disorders, an extreme case of Anorexia.

‘There is only one hospital in the country that specializes in refeeding patients at such a low body weight and it’s my mission to get her there. ‘If she receives too many calories her metabolism will kick up and she will lose even more weight. This is a VERY delicate medical situation.

‘Hospitals won’t admit her because she is a liability for them. ‘She doesn’t meet their minimum weight requirement and they don’t have the capabilities to save her.’

He goes to describe his wife as a ‘captivating, kind and amazing woman’ who ‘always puts others before herself’. Her family and friends have supported her throughout her battle, he writes.

Dr. Michael Strober, professor of psychiatry at Resnick UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital, told ABC that the refeeding process needs to be ‘carefully monitored’, otherwise it can put patients at risk.

‘Too rapid increase of calories can result in the metabolic adaptation which is associated of a number of hazards, which can be life-threatening,’ Dr Strober said.

Anorexia is an eating disorder that is characterized by an abnormally low body weight and an all-consuming fear of gaining weight. Sufferers typically have a distorted perception of their bodies.

Husband and wife: Mr Edmondson, who longer works as a personal trainer, said: ‘My lovely wife and I have been together for more than a decade and she will be seeing her final days if we don’t take action!’ ‘Kind’: He described his wife as a ‘captivating and amazing woman’ who ‘always puts others before herself’. Above, Ms Farrokh is pictured in a Facebook photo taken years ago, before she dropped to below 50 pounds

They may deliberately restrict the amount of food they eat, or control the amount of calories they consume by vomiting. They also might attempt to lose weight by engaging in excessive exercise.

Symptoms include extreme weight loss, abnormal blood counts, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, thin or easily breakable hair, a lack of menstruation (in women) and dry skin, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The Clinic explains: ‘Anorexia isn’t really about food. It’s an unhealthy way to try to cope with emotional problems. When you have anorexia, you often equate thinness with self-worth.’

To visit Ms Farrokh’s GoFundMe page, titled ‘Rachael’s Road to Recovery’, click here .

For help, support and more information on eating disorders, visit the National Eating Disorders Association (US) or Beat (UK).

Rachael FarrokhRachael Farrokh
Rachael FarrokhRachael Farrokh
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