Local Woman with Anorexia Goes Online to Help Fund Treatment

May 24, 2013

Susan Mowchan says the eating disorder that has controlled her life for the past thirty years, has cost her a job and her home. She fears it could soon take her life.

"Sometimes I will wake up in a panic and think, 'How much time do I have left?' I'm not ready to died."

Mowchan's only meal of the day consists of ten pretzels and four ounces of Diet Coke. But lately, she admits she has started limiting how much fluid she will allow herself to drink.

"The eating disorder is just like 'nope, you can't have it.' No matter how thirsty I am. It's a living hell," she said.

Mowchan has been in and out of hospitals and treatment facilities for much of the past decade, but her insurance will only cover 25 days of treatment. Her therapist recommends she be in treatment for at least six months.

"As a therapist, it's frustrating to know exactly the treatment your client needs and to also know because of insurance issues, it's not available," Mowchan's therapist, Chapin Faulconer said.

The dire situation has called for drastic measures. Faulconer turned to the online fundraising site, GoFundMe, hoping to raise money for Susan's treatment.

"It's certainly unusual," Faulconer admitted. "Obviously as a therapist, probably one of my primary responsibilities is confidentiality with my patients...The reason I reached out is because this really is a matter of life and death."

Mowchan's cause is just one of many donors can contribute to directly online. Survivors of the Boston marathon bombings have turned to the site Give Forward to collect hundreds of thousands in donations to help cover hospital bills. Locally, at the University of Virginia, professors are using crowd sourcing to fund specific research projects.

"You're much more likely to be successful with something like this if you have a specific need that you're raising money for," said Marijean Jaggers, president of Jaggers Communications. "You can set a goal, define the progress, and share the story and progress with the community you've built. People will know when you've reached your end goal and what that you've achieved."

Mowchan's doctors and therapist agree she needs treatment that includes intravenous feedings. That type of treatment in an inpatient facility costs upwards of $2,000 a day. Her goal on GoFundMe is to raise $100,000. In two months, her cause has raised a little over $2,000.

Mowchan says she hopes she can get the help she knows she needs before it's too late.

"I can't give up hope," she said. "I cannot give up."

To donate to Mowchan's cause visit www.gofundme.com/2cxddg

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