A woman fighting for her life in a battle with anorexia has raised nearly $200,000 since going public with her story a little more than a month ago.
NBC4 was with Rachael Farrokh three weeks ago as she explained why she decided to tell her story and talked about the painful reality of standing 5 feet 7 inches and weighing a mere 40-something pounds.
She also talked about how the disease was killing her and how hard it was for her to find a treatment center that would take her as a patient. Farrokh hoped to raise enough money to travel to Denver and check into a facility there, one of the few places that would accept her so grossly underweight.
Her story left many people wondering why Adult Protective Services hadn't stepped in and forced her to go to the hospital.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department started doing welfare checks on Farrokh, visiting her San Clemente home at least three times.
Last Friday, she was rushed to the emergency room. As of Wednesday, Farrokh remained in intensive care.
Rachel Levi, the clinical director of Shoreline, an eating disorder treatment center, weighed in on Farrokh's story with a warning.
"Being good at being anorexic is triggering..." she said. Levi cautioned the bone face of a woman in extreme condition would cause those who live at normal body weights with eating disorders to question their own ability to recover.
Other people with eating disorders might think, "I'm not sick enough. I should be able to look like Rachael to get where she is so then I deserve care," Levi said. "It's a huge setback."
Farrokh's sister, Ranna, lived with her sister's struggle for years. She hoped the publicity would force Farrokh into recovery.
"Putting it out to people... there's nowhere to hide," she said.
In a matter of days, donations to Farrokh's GoFundMe page skyrocketed to $195,000. Ranna said the money was being held for treatment.
"The plan is when the bills come in the money goes out," she said.
Stacey Lindberg from Adult Protective Services said generally if an adult doesn't want intervention, then social services has to walk away.
"It's a voluntary program," she said.
Counselors said at this point, Rachael's medical condition needed to be addressed before she tried to overcome the mental illness that got her to this state.
According to her husband, Rod Edmondson, Rachael would be moved to an eating disorder facility in San Diego soon.