Saving Lives, One Grant at a Time!
About Our Foundation
The WLSFA brings hope to those afflicted with the disease of obesity through raising funds to provide weight loss surgeries for those who are in need – changing lives from barely surviving to thriving!
2021 Grant Recipients
I live for the outdoors, hiking, hunting, fishing, and just being in the country. Luckily my family loves the outdoors as well and enjoys hiking, camping, and all three of my daughters go hunting with me. Something I feel so lucky to have.
I work for a company out of Iowa, called Boyt Harness. It’s a hunting company that’s been around since 1901. Another blessing I have in my life.
I was born a big kid and have always been on the bigger side. In high school I wrestled 215 but was pretty trim. Naturally just a big guy. At the 215 mark my stomach was flat and you could see my muscles. Even after high school I would go out hunting and many days I would walk 15-20 miles a day many days in a row. Over time I gained some weight here and there and as most guys most of it came after my wife and I started having kids.
In 2008 I sustained a major back injury and my weight skyrocketed. At my peak I weighed 384 pounds. I still went out hunting and hiking but it was hard and hurt all the time. Mentally I could just push through it to a point but it wasn’t as fun as it once was. Still my love for the outdoors drew me out there but still I wasn’t happy. I think unknowably I ate because food brought me a little joy.
I would go on diets and try and lose weight. I was successful, but something would stop me from working out and my mind would give up. I never seemed to be able to keep the weight off. My back would give out and would not let me workout most of the time. It was a vicious cycle with chronic pain, weight gain, which lead to depression. I always felt my weight was out of my control during this time. I think this is something people don’t understand, is the mental side of being overweight. It’s not just as simple as “Don’t pick up the doughnut.” It runs deeper than that.
My highest weight was 384, and my surgery weight was 374, on March 3rd. As of mid- June I am sitting right around 300 pounds. So a total lost of 84 pounds in three and a half months. My hope is to get down to 200 pounds a total of 184 pounds. I think if I can get there and get my back in a good place I will be able to fulfill a life long dream of hunting wild sheep. Something that takes being in great shape and mentally tough, something my weight loss surgery will allow me to do. I feel blessed to be able to hunt for high quality protein especially with the strict diet I have after my surgery.”
I have always fought with my weight all of my life. I was always teased for being a big kid and guy all of my school time and later in life.
I have been trying to get weight loss surgery for 9 years.
I tried borrowing money, but I could only do a car loan for 1200, tried to do the medical loan and was denied, and I only have my elderly mother and father who are on fixed incomes. I have been unable to work due to medical issues and have been denied 4 times for disability. So all of our household bills, medical bills etc are all taken care of by my wife working, trying to cover all of our expenses and her medical issues, we can’t come up the copay for the surgery.
If I was approved for a grant to pay for the surgery copay it would be life changing. It would allow me to changed my life to lose weight. It would greatly help the daily pain I am in as well. Having the weight off would be just mind blowing!
My support system is definitely my wife. She is my life. Her family, my mother in law brother in law are completely behind me and able to help, talk, listen when it is needed. I also have joined several support groups on facebook, and we talk about everything.
I plan to succeed with this surgery as it is my life. I need to have this, I am at a point in my life that I am at my biggest, I feel so much pain. I need to have a change in my life. This is my one shot at a better life.
I want to let people know no matter where they are in their life, there are still opportunities. You are never to old or too big!
For as long as I can remember, I have always struggled with my weight. I have always felt like internally I am one person and to the outside world I am someone else. I want to be able to go for a run, spend a whole day walking around sightseeing and climb 3000 feet mountains. But due to my size I am unable to do those things. I am excited that weight loss surgery will finally allow the person I am on the inside match the body I have on the outside. I am excited to no longer be limited in my experiences because of my weight. My weight is also starting to impact my health, which scares me because I am only 35 and want to live a long and healthy life
In addition to my health concerns, one of the main reasons I want to pursue weight loss surgery is to take back control of my life. For years now, I have let my weight control my actions. I never want to go shopping with my friends because I cannot buy clothes in regular stores anymore. I get nervous to fly because I am worried I won’t fit in the seat or be able to buckle the seat belt. I find myself backing out of formal events because my feet are too wide for dress shoes and it is a struggle to bend over just to buckle my shoes. Lastly, I love to travel and do active things, but due to my weight I am very limited in what I can actually do. When we do travel or do something that involves a lot of walking, I am constantly needing to take breaks or decline certain activities because of my weight. I am ready to really start living for the first time in my life and the catalyst for that would be to have weight loss surgery.
One of the other reasons I feel now would be a great time to pursue weight loss surgery is my support system. My husband is very supportive of my decision to undergo weight loss surgery and will be available to assist me in my journey. I also have a large circle of friends who all want to be a part of this journey with me. Outside of being a sholder to lean on, they have offered to share healthy recipes and come on walks with me. My family has embraced this decision as well and have offered to come up and stay with us if needed for a period of time after my surgery to help get adjusted. I have tried other diets for years. Some of the other things I have attempted are Weight Watchers, Meta Weight Loss, Nutrisystem, Keto, and the 21 day fix. While I may have seen some short term success with those options, the weight always seemed to come back and I ended up in the same situation as I was before. Weight loss surgery will assist me in changing my life in a permanent way. I have been actively working to change my lifestyle over the past year and am committed to taking the steps needed to ensure if I have the surgery that I will be successful at accomplishing my goals
I started considering weight loss surgery about five years ago. The largest obstacle for me was always the cost because I have never had an insurance plan that included bariatric surgery, some weight loss surgery centers wanted full payment upfront, and other hospital systems did not have realistic payment plan options. When I came across a local hospital’s program and spoke with the hospital staff about my financial issues. They notified me of the WLSFA’s grant program and I felt hopeful for the first time in my weight loss journey. I am applying for this grant because unfortunately wanting the surgery is not enough to actually be able to receive it. My current health insurance does not cover bariatric surgery. And my family and I are not in the position to be able to self-pay. I thought I would be with my previous company, then unfortunately the world changed, and I lost my job in 2020. It took me the better part of a year to get back into the workforce and I had to take a significant pay cut as well. Additionally, because I was out of work for so long and the primary earner for my family, we accrued a lot of debt just trying to make ends meet, making it impossible for me to secure funding for surgery from banks or crowd funding sources
My plan for post-surgery success really has already started. I have already changed a lot of my eating habits and have committed to walking 10,000 steps every day. At a minimum, I plan on utilizing my support system when things get challenging, and I also plan on joining a support group for individuals who have undergone weight loss surgery in the past. This way, if I have specific questions I can talk to someone who has first-hand experience in what I am giong through. This is something I am very committed to and I am a large believer. That the right mindset is key to success
I hope you read these words and understand just how much receiving this grant would change my life. I would be very proud to represent the WLS FA with hopes that my story and experience would help generate additional funding for further recipients. I am asking for your help to assist me in changing my life. This grant would allow me to receive the surgery and take the first step in truly. Living my life for the first time.
WLSFA National Conference in New Orleans 2023
The Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America (WLSFA.ORG) invites you to join us at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, April 21-23, 2023. Your participation at this annual fundraiser allows the WLSFA to make a difference in the lives of people with no access to the medical treatment with the need to overcome the disease of obesity. The money raised at this event will fund grants and save lives! Together we can look forward to an event that will be life changing for attendees and those that benefit from the gathering most – our Grant Recipients.
Thank you to our 2023 Making a Difference Conference Sponsors
Almost one year ago Jill Calhoun was searching for financial help to get life saving bariatric surgery. She found the WLSFA and was instructed she...