Rachel Todd had dreams of appearing on the front cover of Vogue and gracing catwalks – but a rare disorder has left the 18-year-old aspiring model a prisoner in her own body.
The British teenager suffered a stroke last December, which left her paralyzed from head-to-toe. She can hear and think, but can only communicate by blinking and rolling her eyes.
The condition, known as locked-in syndrome, has been described by doctors as "the closest thing to being buried alive."
"It breaks my heart to see my beautiful daughter like this," Rachel's dad, Gordon, told The Sun.
"Rachel loved fashion. She had been to London to get her photos done for her modeling portfolio. Now look at her. She's fed through a tube and needs 24-hour care. She doesn't deserve this living hell."
The condition is a rare neurological disorder characterized by complete paralysis of voluntary muscles in all parts of the body except for those that control eye movement, the National Institute of Neurological Disorder said on its Web site. There is no cure for locked-in syndrome or a standard course of treatment.
Still, Rachel has shown signs of improvement – even managing to smile.
"People in her condition are prone to infection and most don't live long,” her father said. "But we pray every day that she continues to get better. I just want some dignity for her. We live in hope."