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
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
Contrast: Ms Farrokh is pictured in a previous YouTube video (left), thanking well-wishers for raising nearly $200,000, and posing with her devoted husband, Rod Edmondson (right), 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.
‘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.