UPDATE! Inaugural Grant Recipient Connie Bailey
In July of 2012 Connie hit ONEDERLAND! Watch the Video HERE This year connie had reconstructive plastic surgery and is truly once again the IDENTICAL TWIN to her Sister Rosemary Almgren. Connie and Rosemary remain avid bloggers and ambasadors for the WLSFA. Please visit their very popular video vlogs on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/quiltingconnieb to watch Connie and http://www.youtube.com/gastricrose to watch Rosemary to enjoy there informative, supportive and motivational videos about life after weight loss surgery! Both twins will be with us at the WLSFA Annual Fundraiser the Mother of in Las Vegas this year please join them and us!! Click Here To Learn More
Many people on the weight loss surgery journey post web videos on You Tube to document their journey and support each other. It was there that our founder Antonia Namnath connected with hundreds of other people in the “WLS Community” and decided to attend an informal Meet & Greet for WLS People in Las Vegas.
While at the Meet & Greet Antonia had a vision to start a non-profit by and for the weight loss surgery (WLS) community.With over 150,000 people having some for of WLS each year in the US alone, Antonia realized that this community could band together to make a difference. By raising funds the WLS community could award grants and otherwise gather resources that would allow for bariatric and reconstructive surgeries for those who otherwise could not get them due to financial reasons.
So after weeks of planning, on April 26, 2010, the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America (WLSFA) was officially founded.
Antonia met Rosemary and the Las Vegas Meet and Greet and learned about her identical sister, Connie.
As Identical twins, both Connie and Rosemary lives were effected by Morbid Obesity.
In 2004, based on her doctor’s advice, Connie decided that she wanted to have Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass surgery and suggested that her sister do the same. At the time Rosemary and Connie both had the same insurance company, but different policies.
Connie was denied surgery because her policy exempted Weight Loss Surgery. Rosemary was given approval and with in one month underwent her RNY surgery.
Fast forward six years: Connie continues to struggle and is surviving at 350 pounds.
In the past six years Connie has been turned down for weight loss surgery three more times because her health insurance exempts it. Connie suffers from type-2 Diabetes, arthritis, hypertension and several other health issues related to her morbid obesity. Connie needs surgery on both of her knees, she has very limited mobility, exercise is difficult and on some days impossible.
Connie has been told she can not have the knee surgery because of her weight. Connie is of limited means and paying for the weight loss surgery or getting a loan is out of the question.
Rosemary is now six years post-operative from her Gastric Bypass, is thriving at a healthy weight and enjoys life.
Rosemary is able to travel, exercise, work and inspire other people with her WLS success story. Rosemary’s long term maintenance of a healthy weight has fortified the true belief of many post operative WLS followers of her popular YouTube Channel “GastricRose” that life after weight loss surgery is a tool that helps for the rest of our lives.
Rosemary no longer has Type 2 Diabetes and the effects of her arthritis have been minimized. She is a vivacious woman who gives support and advise to the WLS community but she alone can not give Connie what she needs.
Rosemary lives with a broken heart for her twin sister, her true other half Connie.
This story must not be finished for Connie or the hundreds of other people in Connie’s same situation.
Connie is still with us, still fighting and the recipient of the Weight loss Surgery Foundation of Americas Inaugural Grant.
“Going from Surviving to Thriving”
The first fiscal goal of the WLSFA is to raise enough funds and resources to grant Connie Weight Loss Surgery and one year of follow up care with a Bariatric Center of Excellence.
The WLSFA will be producing a documentary about these two wonderful women. Producer Mike Towe of Bariatric TV has kindly donated his time, equipment and talent to this project. This documentary will be filled over the summer and is scheduled for a fall release.
How can you help the WLSFA help our Connie and others in similar situations?
If you are a Weight Loss Surgery person or some one who supports them you can:
- Become a member of this web site and receive the latest information from the WLSFA
- Volunteer you time , knowledge or both by filling out our volunteer survey
- Donate money directly to the cause
If you are a Bariatric or Plastic Surgeon or other WLS health care professional you can:
- Donate Services or Money to the WLSFA
- Please contact the WLSFA and we will send you details about our donation levels and what they offer.
NOTE: The Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America has applied for tax exempt status and is awaiting IRS approval. Once approved, all donations will be 100% Tax Deductible retroactive to the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation Incorporation Date of Aril 26,2010