RQ The Label: The moment a young consultant contracted a shocking ‘rare’ autoimmune disease

A young consultant who started her own fashion label, inspired by vintage clothing from the 90s, has made more than $100,000 in two years, despite being diagnosed with a “life-threatening” autoimmune disease.

Rachel Quach, from Canberra, launched RQ The Label at the age of 24 while working full time in risk consulting.

A year later, during Covid lockdowns, doctors told Rachel she had a rare condition called aplastic anemi, in which the body stops producing white blood cells and the immune system starts attacking itself.

The now 27-year-old recalls feeling fatigued, having difficulty exercising and having headaches and bruises in the weeks leading up to the devastating news, but he wasn’t sure why.

“I just thought I was tired or unfit, the symptoms were very mild,” Rachel told FEMAIL.

While she spent three months recovering from hospital treatment, she continued to work on the label by hosting a photo shoot and keeping up with customer orders.

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Rachel Quach (pictured), from Canberra, Australia, launched RQ The Label in August 2020 while working full time. A year later, during Covid lockdowns, Rachel received devastating news from doctors that she has a ‘rare’ serious condition called aplastic anemia

The now 27-year-old recalls feeling fatigued, having difficulty exercising and having headaches and bruising in the weeks leading up to the prognosis, but he wasn't sure why.

The now 27-year-old recalls feeling fatigued, having difficulty exercising and having headaches and bruising in the weeks leading up to the prognosis, but he wasn’t sure why. “I just thought I was tired or unfit, the symptoms were very mild,” Rachel told FEMAIL

Rachel is a self-taught fashion designer with a background in business and marketing who says she is more passionate about her side hustle than her corporate role (Photo: Model wearing RQ The Label corset top)

Rachel is a self-taught fashion designer with a background in business and marketing who says she is more passionate about her side hustle than her corporate role (Photo: Model wearing RQ The Label corset top)

Rachel is a self-taught fashion designer with a background in business and marketing, who says she is more passionate about her side hustle than her corporate role.

She invested between $40,000 and $50,000 to start the business venture and has always been fond of vintage fashion.

At the moment, the brand itself has launched a range of corsets inspired by ’90s shapes and fabrics’.

Rachel was sent to the emergency room where she waited for hours before being taken to a ward with a sign above it that read

Rachel was sent to the emergency room where she waited for hours before being taken to a ward with a sign above it that read “cancer treatment.” “I couldn’t believe it, then a specialist told me I probably have leukemia or an autoimmune disease,” she said.

In early August 2021, Rachel’s GP took a blood test and called her a few days later to discuss the results, leaving her feeling concerned.

“I drove to the doctor and the headache started coming back, then he sent me straight to the emergency room where I waited a few hours to see a doctor,” she said.

“I couldn’t handle anything, at first I denied it was anything serious.”

Around 2 a.m., the doctor asked a few basic questions and then took her to another section of the ward with a sign above it that read “cancer services.”

“I couldn’t believe it, then a specialist told me I probably have leukemia or an autoimmune disease,” she said.

The cause of the illness remains unknown and Rachel has no family history of cancer but believes stress was a factor.

‘I have always been a stressed person; I always try 100 percent in my job, my business, and try to succeed,” she said.

Rachel was then given a four-day treatment known as anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG), which she said suppresses the immune system so it doesn't keep attacking the white blood cells.

Rachel was then given a four-day treatment known as anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG), which she said suppresses the immune system so it doesn’t keep attacking the white blood cells.

What Causes Autoimmune Disease?

An autoimmune disease is a condition where your immune system mistakenly attacks your body

The immune system normally protects against germs such as bacteria and viruses. When it senses these strange invaders, it sends an army of battle cells to attack them

Normally, the immune system can tell the difference between foreign cells and your own cells

In an autoimmune disease, the immune system sees a part of your body, such as your joints or skin, as foreign. It releases proteins called autoantibodies that attack healthy cells

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes the immune system to fail. Still, some people are more likely to develop an autoimmune disease than others

Source: Healthline

Rachel was then given a four-day treatment known as anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG), which she said “suppresses the immune system” so it doesn’t keep attacking the white blood cells.

“My body quickly felt the effects of the treatment — I couldn’t walk a few steps without getting out of breath,” she said, then spent three months in the hospital to recover.

‘It was confronting, because I was in the ward with a leukemia patient and I was the youngest there.

“The worst part was that I didn’t know when or if I would recover.”

Rachel’s boyfriend took the orders while she was in the hospital, and thankfully her body has recovered well, but will continue to be on medication until at least February 2023.

Rachel's boyfriend took orders while she was in hospital, and thankfully her body has recovered well, but will remain on meds until at least February 2023

Rachel’s boyfriend took orders while she was in hospital, and thankfully her body has recovered well, but will remain on meds until at least February 2023

Although she previously led a fit and healthy lifestyle, Rachel makes sure she gets exercise daily, sleeps eight hours a night, and eats organic foods.  And her business is thriving, with a new collection online soon

Although she previously led a fit and healthy lifestyle, Rachel makes sure she gets exercise daily, sleeps eight hours a night, and eats organic foods. And her business is thriving, with a new collection coming soon

The experience has taught Rachel to prioritize both her mental and physical health and gradually she has been able to regain her strength.

“I didn’t realize how weak I had become until I left the hospital and walked down the stairs tired — I think three months in bed will do that to you,” she said.

Although she previously led a fit and healthy lifestyle, Rachel makes sure she gets exercise daily, sleeps eight hours a night, and eats organic foods.

And her business is thriving, with a new collection launching online soon.

The brand also has a strong Instagram following of over 13,000 people.