Sunday, January 3, 2010


Sue Harootunian before anorexiaSue Harootunian (before anorexia)

On January 19, 2008, I wrote the following about Sue Harootunian in this post...


"Last night, on ABC's 20/20, was a stunning report on Sue Harootunian, 47, who waged a losing battle with anorexia nervosa for over 20 years.

"Slowly starving herself to death, she avoided eating in front of her family and began jogging obsessively. Eventually, her 5-foot 4-inch frame wasted away to a mere 80 pounds -- so fragile that death was a real possibility."

Sue Harootunian the day she entered the Renfrew Centre for treatmentSue Harootunian

"The image of a grown woman struggling with an eating disorder may seem incongruous, but in recent years, experts have detected a hidden epidemic raging in homes all across America, with mothers struggling to save the lives -- not of their daughters -- but of themselves. " (BOLDING MINE)

To read more about Sue and her struggle, click here:

It is now with a heavy heart that I write that Sue passed away on December 6, 2009 as a result of anorexia:

"Suzanne Harootunian, 50, publicized anorexia

By Bonnie L. Cook
Inquirer Staff Writer

Suzanne Harootunian, 50, of Glen Mills, who fought the eating disorder anorexia nervosa for 20 years and went public with her story to help others, died of the disease Dec. 6 at her home.

Mrs. Harootunian was born in Harrisburg, grew up in Havertown, and lived in Springfield, Delaware County, before moving to Glen Mills in 2003.

She graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School in 1977 and attended Drexel University with a major in nutrition.

Unlike many anorexics, who develop the disease in their teens, Mrs. Harootunian was afflicted at 30, she told ABC's 20/20 in a segment that aired early last year.

She jogged obsessively and avoided meals with her family. She wasted away to 80 pounds on a 5-foot-4 frame and had to be hospitalized for 58 days in 2007 at the Renfrew Center in Philadelphia.

Sue Harootunian the day she entered the Renfrew Centre for treatmentSue, the day she entered treatment at the Renfrew Center

"The whole idea of gaining weight is scary, but it's not. I have mixed emotions about it," Mrs. Harootunian told 20/20 on the morning she checked into Renfrew.

Part of the healing process was asking why she was starving herself, she told 20/20. She said she came to realize that her life felt out of control, and that controlling her weight was the one area where she felt powerful.

Sue Harootunian after treatment at the Renfrew CentreSue, after her release from Renfrew

A year after her release from Renfrew, she was shown in June frolicking in the waves on an Ocean City, N.J., beach, 40 pounds heavier.

Sue Harootunian at the beach after treatmentSue, at Ocean City, a year after her release from Renfrew

She had lost some weight since then, and it took a toll on her heart, her family said.

She and Lee C. Harootunian, whom she had met through mutual friends, married in 1982. Mrs. Harootunian worked as a manager at Jimmy Duffy's Catering for a number of years, but resigned to care for her ailing father.

She enjoyed gourmet cooking, vacationing at the beach, and playing with her pug dogs.

Her greatest gift was compassion, said her husband. "She always had a kind word and loved to make people laugh and feel good about themselves," he said. "She never let her affliction get in the way of helping others, and always kept her sense of humor."

Surviving in addition to her husband are sons Corbin and Connor; daughter Kristen; her mother, Katherine Scanlan O'Neill; a brother; and a sister.

Friends may call from 10 to 10:45 a.m. today at St. John Neumann Church, 380 Highland Ave., Bryn Mawr. A Funeral Mass will follow at 11. Interment will be in Birmingham/Lafayette Cemetery, West Chester.

Memorial donations may be made to A Chance to Heal, Box 2342, Jenkintown, Pa. 19046."

More photos of Sue are here:

Photos of Sue Harootunian at

Many thanks to Jo for this update.


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Brandee said...

omg I am crying. I have battled 20 years and got to 92 for my 5'8 frame and recently below 100. I am better now but have dropped recently putting me at 25 below what I need to be. This really scares me because I always think not me and I was never low enough etc then I read tragic stories like this one.
I am furious at Ana. I do want recovery and am freaked about falling.
Hugs Medusa.

Anonymous said...

It seemed that she was recovering. So how did she die? Long-term effects?