Twitter connects surgeon and patient resulting in the 20th Grant for the WLSFA

jillsurgerydayjune2016Almost one year ago Jill Calhoun was searching for financial help to get life saving bariatric surgery. She found the WLSFA and was instructed she must be refered to apply for a grant by her surgeon. The problem was Jill did not have a bariatric surgeon. Jill used social media to plead her case and to find a surgeon who might help her realize her dream of overcoming morbid obesity, a disease that kills thousands of Americans each year. Dr. Rachel Moore (@rachelmooremd) received a tweet from Jill and the rest is history. Dr. Moore referred Jill to the WLSFA grant program. In May of this year Jill was awarded a grant for weight loss surgery funded by donations from hundreds of fellow weight loss surgery patients, contributions from medical professionals and sponsorships from industry partners. Jill’s surgery was today June 8,2016.

“We are so honored to welcome Dr. Rachel Moore and Moore Metabolics into our Network of Care. Without the contribution of dedicated surgeons like Dr. Rachel Moore the WLSFA could not realize our mission to Save Lives One Grant at a Time We ask all bariatric surgeon to consider referring their patients in need. Until the medical treatment of obesity is covered by all insurance policies, the WLSFA will continue to award grants to help those who have no access to the medical care they so desperately need.” ~ Antonia Namnath Founder and CEO of the WLSFA.

Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Rachel Moore

Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Rachel Moore

“Jill saw me online and knew that access to care for obesity treatment is one of my passions. We actually first connected on twitter where she sent me a direct message and asked if I would be willing to help her apply for a WLSFA grant. That initial effort and enthusiasm has continued through her preoperative evaluation. We are thrilled to help such a deserving young lady!”
” Millions of Louisianians do not have insurance coverage for any kind of obesity treatment (medical or surgical). I have been advocating for change in Baton Rouge both with legislators and insurers with no improvement yet. The WLSFA is a wonderful opportunity for me to help patients who could not otherwise receive treatment.” ~ Dr. Rachel Moore

Health reporter Meg Farris(@megfarrisWWL) of WWL TV in New Orleans paid a visit with Jill Calhoun just before surgery. We will post links to her story as it unfolds on WWL TV. They will be following Jill’s progress this year.

The Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America is a 501( c ) 3 Charity
Contact us at or call 415-234-9074 Monday – Friday 9 AM – 5 PM PS

WLSFA Introduces Tour of Hope Fundraiser with Bill Streetman

Weight Loss Surgery Patient Mr. Bill Streetman launches his “Tour of Hope” fundraising bicycle ride across Michigan and Ohio. The best part is YOU are invited along! The WLSFA is asking all of our supporters to join Bill in person as a rider or online as a donor to support Bill on this once in a life time adventure. Bill’s Tour of Hope will raise awareness for the WLSFA and our mission to help people get the medical treatment they need and to improve the lives of people effected by obesity.
In Bill’s Words:
Fifty-four years of life had taught me that I didn’t have the ability to manage my eating. Try as I did (and I tried all the diets plans out there), I simply didn’t have the ability to manage my food intake. Some people are born with the innate ability to self-manage this aspect of their life. I didn’t. I needed a tool to help ME on my Journey to Fitness. Gastric bypass was that tool for me. I am so very grateful for the ‘tool’ of my gastric bypass. My RNY was the tool I needed to help me overcome the disease of obesity. For years, without weight loss surgery, I had tried and failed to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Now with the tool of gastric bypass, I have been able to achieve my goal of losing weight and leading a healthy lifestyle. I was fortunate to have the resources to pay for the surgery that gave me this tool. I know there are many people out there who would benefit, as I have, from weight loss surgerys, but don’t have insurance or the financial means of paying for the procedure. I want to help those people.
A special message from Bill to other men dealing with the disease of morbid obesity:
At first glance living a healthy lifestyle may look a lot like living in a deprived or unrewarded state. It would appear that there are foods you can’t eat, limits to how much you can eat, things you must deny yourself. It feels like a life where you have to say NO a lot, and give up things you enjoy. The act of seeking medical advice can seem like an admittance of defeat to some men. Opening up to a doctor is embarrassing, talking about your weaknesses, failures, faults and such are not comfortable for most people, men particularly. It leaves a man open to hostile critique, ridicule, and judgement. I tell men all the time that living a healthy lifestyle is just the opposite from being limited or restricted. That a healthy lifestyle is actually very self-empowering.


  • I decide what level of health and fitness I want – and I accept the corresponding lifestyle (‘Best Weight’)
  • I make the choices about what, where, and when I eat.
  • By my own authority I deem that the next [time range] will be mine to spend in an uninterrupted workout.


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Bill Streetman Weight Loss Surgery Patient 
Contact Bill Today!

This is my challenge to me and to you, support my fundraiser and help me save lives and raise awareness for the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America, because together we are “Saving Lives One Grant at a Time”

Please make a donation now to support the Tour of Hope


It has been a desire of mine to ride my bicycle from my home in Ohio to my family lake house in Michigan… about 425 miles. In the past I was so overweight and obese that this type of adventure wasn’t possible. After losing 200 pounds from my 400 pound frame, I am now able to undertake vigorous activities such as long-distance bike riding. Therefore, I have decided that my long-held wish to ride my bike from my Westerville, Ohio home to my Gaylord, Michigan lake house has now become my goal – soon my plan, and on July 29th through August 5th will become my reality.

I am so very grateful that I had the resources to pay for my RNY gastric bypass, a tool that I have successfully used to lose over 200 pounds and maintain a healthy lifestyle for the last five and a half years. As a means of sharing my gratitude, I am dedicating my ride to the and will be asking for financial donations. The ride will be live-streamed on the Internet and documented on all my social media. I will secure sponsors and ask them to promote the ride and fundraiser through their social media. The ride will be promoted to local press and press along the route.

Who Wants to Ride With Me?

Anybody and everybody – WLS or non-WLS – is welcome to join me for all or any part of the ride.   All I ask is that you promote the ride on your social media and help raise awareness of the obesity epidemic and the WLSFA.

Who wants to be a Sponsor?

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the Tour of Hope, please contact me at

Tour of Hope Map

Red circles are the stops we will make! South to North

Agenda/itinerary for the Westerville, Ohio to Gaylord, Michigan bike ride. Eight days, 426 miles.

Fri July 29 Day 1 – Westerville, OH to Bucyrus, OH. 53 miles. Motel? Still looking for a campground, etc.

Sat July 30 Day 2 – Bucyrus, OH to Van Buren, OH. 50 miles. Camp at Van Buren State Park.

Sun July 31 Day 3 – Van Buren, OH to Petersburg, MI. 59 miles. Camp at Totem Pole Pk Petersburg Junc.

Mon Aug 1 Day 4 – Petersburg, MI to Pinckney, MI. 46 miles. Camp at Pinckney Sate Park.

Tue Aug 2 Day 5 – Pinckney, MI to Ovid, MI. 58 miles. Camp at Sleepy Hollow State Park.

Wed Aug 3 Day 6 – Ovid, MI to Mt Pleasant, MI. 56 miles. Motel? Still looking for a campground, etc.

Thu Aug 4 Day 7 – Mt Pleasant, MI to Houghton Lk, MI. 53 miles. Camp at Houghton Lake Campground.

Fri Aug 5 Day 8 – Houghton Lake, MI to Gaylord, MI. 51 miles. Lake House/Motel in Gaylord.

Sat Aug 6 and Sun Aug 7 – spend the weekend at the lake house.

Let me know if you are interested in some or all of the ride/weekend in Gaylord.


Meet Sandi Henderson

Meet Sandi Henderson, member of the Board of Directors for the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America (WLSFA), co-author of a successful WLS cookbook, and co-founder of WLS Success Matters and Banded Living. Sandi is also a member of the WLSFA Board Executive Committee. Her commitment to the WLS lifestyle… her example of what it means to “Eat well and Exercise” every day, has made her a leader within the community. If you can’t find Sandi, try the local pool where she “gets her swim on” most days – or her kitchen, where she can be found involved in food prep. Fifteen years after her WLS, Sandi is still living the lifestyle and enjoying the rewards of her hard work. Let’s learn more about Sandi!


Question: Where you were born and raised?

Sandi: I was born and raised in Brooklyn New York. I moved to Southern California at age 18. I met my husband of 51 years (on April 4) in California and we married after less than 3 weeks of knowing each other. I have lived in Brooklyn NY, Madison CT, Westchester OH, Culver City CA, (SoCal) Topanga Canyon California (SoCal), Morro Bay California (Central Coast), Nipomo CA (Central Coast) and now reside in Oxnard CA at the beach. I will be 71 years young this September 15th.

Question: That is quite a list of places you’ve lived. Tell us about your family.

Sandi: I am married, have one adult daughter and 3 grandkids.

Question: What is your work experience?

Sandi: I have been in sales for most of my life – owned my own computer equipment company for 22 years and now am co-founder of a Bariatric Education and Coaching Company.

Question: What are your hobbies and interests? What do you like to do in your spare time?

Sandi: I love the beach, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, hiking, biking, lifting weights, reading – and occasionally binge watching Netflix or Amazon shows!

Question: You’ve lived in many places across the country, what are your favorite places to visit?

Sandi: Hawaii is our favorite place to travel, although we loved French Polynesia we return to HI annually. I have been to every island and Kauai is by far my favorite destination. The north shore in particular. I enjoy traveling to warm places surrounded by salt water infested with beautiful sea creatures.

Question: Hawaii sounds great… let’s go! How about education, what did you study?

Sandi: I am a few credits short of my Bachelor’s degree in English and a few French fries short of a Happy Meal.

Question: I bet you don’t eat too many French Fries OR Happy Meals! So tell us about your weight history:

Sandi: I was fat since I was a bit over 2 years old. Pleasantly chubby. At 10 I had to have my appendix removed and the surgeon put me on my first diet… I yoyo’d for years, losing 100 lbs. and then gaining it back and more.

Question: So how old were you when you had WLS surgery? What procedure did you have, who is the surgeon and where did you have it?

Sandi: I had lap band surgery on May 28, 2004 in Ventura CA. Dr. Helmuth Billy was my surgeon. I was 55 ½ when I had surgery. I am maintaining a 250 lb. weight loss and went from a size 28 to a size 12.

Question: Have you experienced any regain over the years?

Sandi: My weight fluctuates typically around 10 lbs. When I have gained more it is due to a problem of some sort which I discuss with my doctor and we get handled. I can lose 10 lbs. in 10 days eating real food when I am strict about weighing and measuring and journaling every single tidbit and planning out each and every meal.

Question: Let’s talk about food… what were your favorite foods before WLS – and what are your favorite foods now?

Sandi: My favorite foods then were anything I could get from the plate into my mouth. Now I like to think I am a bit more discriminating. I have co-authored a cookbook that includes recipes for weight loss surgery meals of all types from Asian to good old comfort food, through chicken soup, burgers, Italian, Greek, Indian, Thai…you name it, we’ve redesigned it to be weight loss surgery friendly.

Question: You’ve certainly put a lot of energy into your meal plans – and it shows. How about the other half of the equation – exercise. Did you exercise before WLS? What do you like to do for exercise now?

Sandi: Favorite exercise – then – was swimming which I did very infrequently and now – my favorite exercise is still swimming which I do 3x weekly and in a warm ocean any chance I get.

Question: What were your thoughts that led you to WLS?

Sandi: A blood pressure crisis in my PCP’s office. I was there for hours after taking a “pill” sublingually to reduce my blood pressure.

Question: So you had a real health scare. Sounds like it was a wakeup call. So after that you looked into WLS, and decided on the Lap Band. What were your thoughts and feelings as a pre-op?

Sandi: I was scared spitless!

Question: Scared spitless! But you went through with the surgery. What were the first days/weeks/months after surgery like?

Sandi: Amazing. Once I decided this was what I wanted I followed the rules to the letter and the weight just kept falling off.

Question: So what advice do you have for newbies?

Sandi: Be ready to change your habits PERMANENTLY…Unless you make the changes you will NOT keep the weight off. Also be ready for the emotional changes and have a good support system- both family and other weight loss surgery patients who are long term successful.

Question: So with your long-term weight loss success, how has WLS changed your life?

Sandi: I have one now. Before surgery my world was getting smaller and smaller. I barely made it to work and home each day. I was not happy. I now can go for hours, and days on end enjoying all that life has to offer from the great outdoors to the depths of the oceans to a bike ride with my husband, time with my daughter and grandkids to helping others reclaim their lives by volunteering and teaching and coaching.

Question: You must have experienced several NSV’s along the way… what is your favorite NSV?

Sandi: Going to Alaska for the 2nd time and instead of having to buy 2 seats on a helicopter to a glacier (one for each cheek), I only needed one and I could get in and out of the helicopter with ease and hiked the glacier instead of standing in one place fearful that if I fell on the ice nobody would be able to help me up. I cried the entire trip – with JOY.

Question: Such a great NSV. I think we can all understand the tears of joy. Congratulations and thanks for sharing. Now you are on the board of the WLSFA. Tell us your feelings about the work of the WLSFA and your role?

Sandi: I have been a board member of the WLSFA for several years and I adore the ability to be able to pay it forward both to those in need of surgery who cannot afford it on their own and to the WLS community as a whole by providing education and celebration at our annual fundraiser.

How to Contact Sandi: By Email

Find more on Sandi at and on her Facebook page: