Denver Health ready to treat 40-pound California woman battling anorexia

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DENVER -- A California woman pleaded for donations to help pay for anorexia nervosa treatment at a Denver hospital.

She has more than accomplished that goal. But there’s question of whether she’ll follow through.

Doctors at the renowned ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders at Denver Health received a wave of national publicity because of Rachael Farrokh, 37.

The former actress told supporters of her Facebook and GoFundMe pages that only that hospital could save her life.

People generously donated. She had asked for $100,000. But the amount was at $184,000 and growing Monday.

"Hi, I'm Rachael. I need your help," says an emaciated Farrokh through a YouTube video in which she asks for money to treat her severe anorexia nervosa.

"I am 5'7" and 40-plus pounds and no hospitals will take me at this point," she says.

The Southern California 37-year-old has suffered with the eating disorder for more than 10 years.

She once weighed 125 pounds. But now hospitals won't treat her because she doesn't meet minimum weight requirements. "There is one hospital across the country that can help," she weakly said in her video.

That hospital is the ACUTE Center For Eating Disorders at Denver Health--which is the most experienced medical facility in the country to medically and psychologically treat eating disorders--especially anorexia which has the highest death rate of any mental illness.

"Rachael is the exact patient ACUTE was designed to treat," Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani, Assistant Medical Director of ACUTE said.

But Rachael isn't coming here yet, despite raising more than enough money. She has said her doctor wants her to stay in California where she will bring treatment to her home because it's unsafe to travel to Denver.

"My opinion is it is life-threateningly dangerous, to receive care of any type at home. The only hope for anyone recovering from critical anorexia is to enter into expert medical treatment immediately without hesitation," Dr. Gaudiani said. "It's pretty clear, without knowing her personally, this a tragic case. And I worry every day that she could die."

Neither Rachael nor her husband returned messages about whether she will indeed come to Colorado or when.

ACUTE has 12 beds, but will expand to 15 by the end of the year.

They have treated hundreds of patients from all over the U.S.

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