A weight-loss influencer who suffered multiple organ failure and was put into a medically-induced coma has defended herself after facing backlash for setting up a GoFundMe to pay for her medical bills.
Lexi Reed, 31, from Indiana, shot to fame after documenting her 312-pound weight loss and now has 1.2 million Instagram followers. Following her hospitalization, her husband, Danny, revealed they didn’t have health insurance and were considering crowdfunding her medical costs.
On February 12, he shared a screenshot of her GoFundMe page — titled ‘Support Lexi Reed in her Medical Expenses’ — on her Instagram. The goal of the online fundraiser is $200,000.
A number of people left comments asking why an influencer with a large following would need financial support, assuming she has a high ‘net worth’ and can afford healthcare, Insider reported. The comments on her page have since been disabled.
Lexi Reed, 31, from Indiana, has defended herself after facing backlash for launching a GoFundMe to cover her medical bills after she was hospitalized for organ failure
A number of people left comments asking why an influencer with a large following would need financial support, assuming she has a high ‘net worth’
‘People seem to think I’m some sort of millionaire just because the internet says so, but we’re far from that,’ Lexi told the outlet, insisting they’re not rich because she has over a million followers.
The website AllFamousBirthday has estimated that her net worth is $1.5 million, but she claimed that number is inaccurate.
‘People on the internet are reading that I have all kinds of money, which is insane to me, because I clearly don’t,’ she said. ‘Our house isn’t even paid off and we only drive one vehicle so I’m not quite sure why people are so quick to believe anything these days.’
Lexi’s Instagram feed is a mix of gym selfies, motivational quotes, and before-and-after photos of herself. She claimed she rarely takes brand deals, which is how influencers make money.
According to Insider, only one of her posts from the past year appears to be a paid sponsorship with a brand.
Lexi shot to fame after documenting her 312-pound weight loss and now has 1.2 million Instagram followers, but she told Insider she isn’t rich by any means
Lexi claimed she rarely takes brand deals, and according to Insider, only one of her posts from the past year appears to be a paid sponsorship with a brand
Indiana does not have a state law requiring residents to have health insurance, and while Lexi admitted to the outlet that she might have been able to afford it, she didn’t think she needed it.
She said that prior to her hospitalization, she hadn’t been diagnosed with a condition and rarely went to the doctor.
Lexi, who is in a wheelchair and undergoing dialysis three days a week, told Insider that she and her husband are relying on their savings because she can’t work, saying their household income has dropped following her hospitalization.
The couple has received more than $70,000 in donations in two weeks, which will go towards her medical bills.
Lexi said doctors still don’t know what caused her organ failure, but they don’t think it was related to her weight loss. Rapid weight loss and weight gain can both contribute to kidney failure, according to the Journal of Renal Nutrition.
Lexi was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) last month after her kidney and liver started failing and was put into a medically-induced coma
In a series of candid Instagram posts that were shared on February 10, Lexi’s husband, Danny, explained that she started getting severely sick and couldn’t keep any food down
Danny explained on Lexi’s Instagram Stories that he was posting on her behalf because she doesn’t have her phone. He also shared that they didn’t have health insurance
The influencer was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) last month and had to be put on a ventilator in a medically induced coma.
Danny said doctors told him Lexi could have died if he had waited to get her treatment
Her husband, Danny, explained in an Instagram post shared on her account on February 10 that she started getting severely sick and couldn’t keep any food down.
‘She then started acting differently so I took her to the hospital where they admitted her into ICU, placed [her in] a medically induced [coma], [put her] on a ventilator, and [told] me that her organs started failing,’ he wrote.
He recalled how doctors told him she might not have made it if he had waited to take her to the hospital.
Danny shared a photo of her lying in a hospital bed, connected to tubes and wires, saying is she is ‘currently [on] dialysis, can’t walk, and working on recovery.’ Dialysis is a treatment for kidney failure that removes waste and excess water from the blood.
Lexi, who is in a wheelchair and undergoing dialysis, revealed she was home on February 12, the same day Danny launched her GoFundMe page
In Lexi’s most recent post, she shared a snapshot of her healthy dinner while giving fans another update. Doctors still aren’t sure what caused her organ failure, but they don’t believe it was her weight loss
Lexi said they are living off her savings because she can’t work. The couple’s GoFundMe has raised $70,000 in just two weeks
‘Thank you all for your prayers,’ Danny concluded his heartfelt post. ‘They all mean so much to us and this will be a long hard battle part of her story, but she is strong!’
He also took to Instagram Stories to share a photo and video of Lexi showing the bruises on her arm.
‘They said if she waited another day to take her, she could have died,’ he wrote, explaining that he was posting on her behalf because she doesn’t have her phone.
‘Her getting back to health has been our top priority,’ he added.
A few days later, Lexi gave her fans an update on her health, revealing she had finally left the hospital to recover at home after spending almost a month in the ICU.
‘People on the internet are reading that I have all kinds of money, which is insane to me, because I clearly don’t,’ she told Insider
Lexi and Danny shot to fame in 2016 after their weight loss story went viral
‘I’m back home and ready to overcome the next part of this part of my story,’ she wrote on Instagram on February 12, the same day her GoFundMe was launched.
‘Happy to be alive when it wasn’t seeming to be not possible and I was unresponsive in the trauma room. Thank you to everyone for the love.’
In another post, Lexi said it took ‘four family members’ to help get her from the car into her house.
‘Not my best 6 AM photo but part of my daily ritual – dialysis,’ she captioned a selfie on February 14 that showed tubes hooked up to her body.
‘I have to go three times a week for four hours where they hook me up to a machine and remove waste and excess fluids as my kidneys aren’t working,’ she explained.
Lexi went from 485 pounds to 173 pounds in two years after overhauling her diet and starting a gym routine
Lexi’s extreme weight loss left her with excess skin on her stomach, arms, and legs
‘I may not be focusing on weight loss as much on here right now (I’m eating healthy in bed and aiming for more protein) but I am working to heal and I wanted to share parts with you guys on this new journey as I was never hospitalized or anything before all of this,’ she added. ‘Knowledge is power! Love you all!’
On Tuesday, she posted a snapshot of her healthy dinner — blackened salmon, veggies, dip, and cottage cheese — while giving her followers another update.
She explained that she had her first doctor’s appointment since leaving the hospital, but she was ‘still waiting to get more answers.’
Lexi also apologized for being ‘MIA’ and not posting as much content, explaining that she spends ‘most of [her] time resting.’
‘However just know I appreciate all of your prayers and support during all of this and I can’t wait to just feel normal again and show you the comeback is always greater than the set back,’ she wrote. ‘Just keep reminding myself it will eventually get better even if I’m not sure when just that it has too.’
In 2018, she underwent a nine-hour surgery to remove seven pounds of excess skin from her body with the intention of having more removed in the future
Lexi (pictured in November) has been chronicling the ups and downs of her weight loss journey on her Instagram page over the past eight years
Lexi and Danny found online fame in 2016 after their weight loss story went viral.
The couple, who said ‘I do’ in 2015, weighed a combined 765 pounds and gorged on a total of 8,000 calories a day before making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight.
They traded fast food for home-cooked meals and started going to the gym five to six times a week. In two years, Lexi went from 485 pounds to 173 pounds, while Danny dropped 95 pounds from his 208-pound frame.
‘We didn’t have a meal plan, surgery, personal trainer, but what we did have was each other and the motivation within to work hard every single day,’ she wrote in an inspiring Instagram post in 2017.
Lexi noted that they had no idea that six months into their resolution they would become a ‘completely different couple.’
Lexi (pictured with Danny in February 2021) shared that she had gained some of the weight she lost back during the COVID-19 pandemic
‘I’m still happy to be alive after fearing I’d miss 30 and I’ll never go back to where I was,’ she said of her weight gain
‘We may have lost the weight but we have grown closer together. Pound by pound, step by step, day by day — we have transformed our lives and molded our bodies into the people we’ve always wanted to be,’ she shared.
Lexi ended the post with a tribute to her husband, explaining that Danny has always loved and supported her no matter what her weight.
In 2018, she underwent a nine-hour surgery to remove seven pounds of excess skin from her body with the intention of having more removed in the future.
For the past eight years, Lexi has been chronicling the ups and downs of her weight loss journey on her Instagram page, which has been a source of inspiration for millions.
In September, she shared side-by-side photos of herself at her heaviest and now, explaining she gained back some of the weight she had lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘I’m still happy to be alive after fearing I’d miss 30 and I’ll never go back to where I was,’ she wrote. ‘Start today!’
What causes organ failure? The most common triggers and warning signs, revealed
The most common cause of kidney failure is diabetes, according to the American Kidney Fund. However, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases like lupus, genetic disease, and urinary tract problems can also lead to organ failure.
In rare cases of acute renal failure, the kidneys can fail very quickly — within a matter of days. In these instances, organ failure is most commonly caused by heart attacks or illegal drug use and abuse.
According to the Journal of Renal Nutrition, recent research also indicates that rapid weight loss and weight gain can both contribute to kidney failure.
Kidney failure can be identified by a number of symptoms, including:
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Not feeling hungry
- Swelling in your feet and ankles
- Too much urine (pee) or not enough urine
- Trouble catching your breath
- Trouble sleeping
In the case of acute renal failure, sufferers may also experience:
- Abdominal (belly) pain
- Back pain
Treatment options for kidney failure are limited and patients typically require dialysis or a transplant in order to survive.