YMCA Intervention Save Anorexic Woman

ymca interventionYMCA intervention saved the life of a Tennessee woman. Nine strangers united and made the crucial decision to save the life of the woman whittling away in front of their eyes.

Anorexia is the eating disorder with a general symptom of a loss of appetite or a disinterest in food. Anorexia nervosa is a severe mental illness that produces a psychological distortion of body image. The fear of gaining weight is so prevalent in individuals with anorexia nervosa extreme measures are taken to avoid it. Those suffering from anorexia nervosa often count calories, work out excessively, starve and intentionally avoid eating. Although the two disorders are different most use the term anorexia interchangeably.

The nine gym members at the Tennessee YMCA were concerned with the image of the nameless woman working out beside them. She was consistent in her routine, and would put in marathon-like work-outs at the center. The members were quietly concerned and all reluctant to say anything until eventually one day they decided to ban together in a YMCA intervention and save the anorexic woman.

The members were reluctant initially because no one thought they had the capabilities to handle the task nor was it their business, what if they were wrong and the woman was suffering from another illness. However, proof that there is power in numbers, once the members consulted one another they knew they were most likely right in their diagnosis and felt obligated to do something about it. Once the decision was made to intervene a well thought out plan was set into motion. The nine members would stage a YMCA intervention and everyone had a role to play.

Once identifying the woman as Lauryn Lax one member used social media to find out more information, once discovering her hometown that member used the internet to track down the phone number for Lax’s parents. Lax’s parents lived in Arkansas and were well aware of their daughters illness having just visited 3 weeks earlier they left feeling helpless and sure they lost their daughter. The nine strangers made the parents aware of their concerns and included them in their plan. Two days after the phone call was made, the stage was set, and by stage, the YMCA parking lot. The members all arrived at the Y early in the morning anticipating Lax’s arrival, when she showed up they converged on her staging an intervention. Initially their concern was met with opposition but after 15 minutes Lax conceded and agreed to go to the hospital.

Unbeknownst to the strangers Lax had suffered from anorexia since middle school and had spent several years in hospitals and treatment centers to no avail. Lax became fanatic about her weight when during a school break conversation with her friends it was discovered she had weighed 10-15 pounds more than they did. Although she was taller as well, this started the obsession that controlled her life for more than 10 years. On the morning of the YMCA intervention Lax had weighed herself at 79 pounds, the smallest she had ever been as an adult. She had whispered a prayer for help before going to the gym and little did she know help was on its way in the form of nine strangers.

Lax spent 3 days in ICU, over 3 weeks in the hospital, and 11 months in a treatment center. She has been healthy for 3 years and says she owes it all to the nine strangers, her YMCA angels. Lax went to school for physical therapy but now wants to pay it forward and help those suffering from anorexia. A woman was on the brink of death when nine strangers intervened.

Opinion By Debra Pittman


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