Former model dies of deadly disease that everyone thought was anorexia

By Samantha Luiz
28 January 2017

She was "done fighting".

Life was very different for Lisa Brown seven years ago. Then in her 20s, the former model had done her postgrad, married her college sweetheart, and simply enjoyed cooking gourmet meals.

But everything changed when she was 28 years old.

Lisa, from Wisconsin in the US, couldn't keep any food down and she started rapidly losing weight.

“I was vibrant, social, healthy and spirited and now I’m in constant pain, rely on others and I’m confined to my home most days, she told The Huffington Post in 2015. “Now I’m permanently in pain and depend on others most of the time.”

After weighing herself, she was shocked to find that she had gone from a healthy 63.5kg to 40kg in just under two years.

"I almost fell over I was so shocked - that’s when I knew we need to find a solution - I was scared for my life."

It would be years before she was diagnosed with superior mesenteric artery (SMA) syndrome, a rare disorder in which her small intestine was being compressed - hence preventing food from passing through.

Now, after a six-year battle, Lisa has succumbed to the condition.

“The last thing I said to her was, ‘Go be free,’ ” her husband, Patrick told PEOPLE.

“I already miss her so much. I wish I could see her every day but she’s now at peace.”

He says she had also planned her her own funeral.

“Lisa said everyone has to wear bright colors and tell fun stories about her,” he says. “She even made a thank you card to everyone who comes. It’s beautifully decorated and shows an open gate.”

Although a small intestine transplant is an option in such cases, it wasn't possible in Lisa's as she would have been unable to gain the 9 kg needed to undergo the procedure.

Dr Matthew Kroh, the physician who treated her at the Cleveland Clinic, revealed that while similar patients may also be battling an eating disorder, this was not the case with Lisa.

“Lisa is not anorexic or bulimic,” he told PEOPLE in 2015.

Lisa was weighing just 34 kg when she died.

"Today marks the day where my best friend, my teammate, my wife is finally free from suffering and pain," Patrick wrote on the GoFundMe page he created.

"She went to heaven peacefully with her family by her side. I would say an angel got her wings, but she was and is more than an angel."


Read more:

This woman is ‘starving to death’ due to rare disease

From 30 kg to mom-to-be: 22-year-old shares her decade-long battle with anorexia

Local teen defies all odds by living with rare disease two years longer than doctors predicted

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