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The site has since apologized for using Anne Marie Sengillo's photos in an inappropriate context

By Gabrielle Olya
Updated March 27, 2015 07:10 AM
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Credit: Courtesy Anne Marie Sengillo

Anne Marie Sengillo posted photos of her eating disorder recovery progress on Reddit as an inspiration to others suffering with the diseases – so when website The Chive repurposed her photos for a post about weight loss inspiration, Sengillo felt it was “like a punch in the stomach.”

“That was the exact opposite reason of why I posted those photos,” she tells PEOPLE. “I wanted to show that it is not really attainable for most people. Those pictures you see online of super skinny girls? Most of the time it’s either done dangerously or they have a really high metabolism, and that’s only a few percent.”

What’s odd, says Sengillo, is that The Chive had previously used those same photos in a post over the summer, calling her out for having an eating disorder.

“I just wish they took a little more time to research the photos, especially since they already had that red dress photo on their site last July labeled under eating disorder,” she says. “If they had taken more time to look back, they would have seen that it didn’t belong there.”

Sengillo has dealt with anorexia on and off for years, dropping down to an alarming 70 lbs. at her lowest weight. The disease has cost her physically, emotionally and financially.

“I have osteoporosis in my hips and knees and I’m only 27,” she says. “I have liver and kidney problems. I have to get blood tests done every week. There’s a possibility I won’t be able to have kids.

It has also affected her life in other ways. “I could only work certain hours because I had to exercise at certain times,” she says. “I felt like, ‘Oh I can’t take this job’ or ‘I can’t go to this class.'”

Her eating disorder has cost her thousands of dollars in medical bills, and she has launched a Go Fund Me page to help offset the costs.

“This was an awful situation, but I tried to turn it around a little bit,” she says of starting her fundraising page.

The Chive has now removed her photos from the original post, issued a public apology and apologized to Sengillo personally.

“We had previously discovered the photo somewhere out there in the internet echo chamber which contained no frame of reference whatsoever,” reads the public apology. “We obviously had no idea Anne Marie had anorexia but that doesn’t excuse the action at all. It was a mistake, completely unintentional, and the photo was removed the second we found out about it.”