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Help Angus complete his journey

$1,325 of $21,500 goal

Raised by 21 people in 3 months
Created June 13, 2018
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I met Angus Wright two years ago in an improv class. He was confident, funny,  outgoing and one of the most caring people I have ever met. We became fast friends.   Little did I know of his daily struggle to just function with every day tasks.  

***

This is his story:

In 2003 he was over 500+ pounds, his health was starting to decline with joint pain and mobility issues. He had severe sleep apnea and a number of other issues that made it difficult to function. In 2008 he had a life changing serious surgery in the hopes to prolong his life. During that time his partner and him moved into their dream home and tied the knot becoming life partners. This should have been the happiest time in his life, however while he recovered from the Duodenal Switch, a number of things came up during recovery. He had severe energy loss, dehydration, anemia, anxiety, pain etc.  He was diagnosed with Post Prandial Hypoglycaemia and a thyroid condition. He also began to struggle  at his work as a bus operator and eventually was placed on Long Term Disability from 2011-2013. 

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In the meantime, with the stress of his health, financial stress a very close friend and roommate was diagnosed with leukemia. Angus stepped in and provided care to his friend. Once he received notice that his LTD was going to end, he was switched to Medical Leave Without Pay. He continued living with chronic pain and unsure of his future he pursued other work options as advised by his employer. 

He opened up a Community oriented consignment store called 'Le Fripe, C'est Chic' which did quite well.  Unfortunately suddenly his marriage fell apart and he had to vacate his retail space and was forced to go bankrupt due to the end of his marriage. His possessions and home were repossessed. 

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He did not let this effect his life in a negative way but got three part time jobs, one as a personal support for a young man with special needs, provided marketing for a website and worked in another consignment shop. All of this while pursuing his previous employment and an accommodation for his disability. 


In 2015 he was offered temporary placement with full time hours with his employer which meant he had to quit his other jobs to pursue it. After that term ended he was unable to find another placement and suddenly back on Medical Leave Without Pay.


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In April 2016, he had the opportunity to learn about coffee, and open a new Bridgehead coffee shop location as a shift supervisor. This allowed him to pursue other avenues as he navigated back to work. It was a result of increased activity, healthy food choices and more weight loss that lead to the realization that his deflated thighs is what was causing the pain.  He was able to adjust and reduce his pain significantly which resulted in clearing the restrictions and opened the door to his return to work as a bus operator. In May 2017 he returned, retrained and was back behind the wheel!

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As a result in job change, he's increased his weight. Maintaining the weight that leads to less pain comes at the cost of being underweight. Being a healthier weight overall leads to increased pain. Being in the position to make a choice of which unhealthy element to pursue is difficult. He's lost a number days of work as a result of this situation he's in. He just want to be successful.


The surgeon who would do the reconstructive surgery estimated that he would have 8-10lbs of excess skin and fatty tissue around his belt line and thigh area.  Under his arms from a deflated chest. The reconstructive surgery would provide a thigh lift, removing the excess and providing him with a normal shape. This would relieve the pressure on his testicles and lead to less or no pain. It would also provide a belt line reconstruction which would help relieve the pain from the excess pushing on his lower back. This reconstruction would also include correcting his chest.


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He's lost and maintained 300+ lbs for ten year and has many opportunities to do things he never dreamed possible. But this excess leads to severe distress as he has PTSD, Body Dysmporhic Disorder. It limits what he can do physically as running/jumping and leads to loss of work time.


Unfortunately OHIP doesn’t recognize this as something it can approve, even though there would be coverage if he identified as a different gender, if he were female, or if he lived in a different province like Quebec. Angus has been pursuing finding out how to change this in order to help other people in his shoes. 


Another avenue is self pay, but as a result of the bankruptcy, he doesn’t qualify for financing. Also, on account of the divorce, and rebuilding from scratch, the self pay option isn’t feasible.


Needed is $21,500.

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His plan is to share his story with people. In the course of his recovery from the initial trauma and then from his attempt to do what’s right for his health, he's lost a big sense of privacy. He wants to share that experience, to help people understand people with disabilities, but most importantly he wants to motivate people to know that they can tackle any problem with life, and as long as they keep at it, eventually they will succeed.

***

Thank you! Share your Angus stories too (you know you have one!)
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I have come to the conclusion that I haven't updated or shared much here. In reflecting on the possible reasons why, I recognize the many barriers and road blocks my brain still has.

In order to have had the success to lose 300lbs, I've had to be able to overcome a lot of obstacles. I'm incredibly proud of that, and if honest, more surprised than anyone.

But, in spite of the success, I live with a number of conditions that are manageable on their own, but become increasingly difficult to manage as they combine to form a giant mega condition . The more heightened it becomes, the more "angus-isms" activate.

This begins a cycle of physical, mental and emotional distress and systems begin to shut down.

At 40, I started an improv comedy class. In a world with so many closed doors, how could I go wrong with a group of folks who's mantra was "yes, and"?

This summer my Indie team Speak Up performed in a summer series of shows at the Shanghai Restaurant as a PWYC (pay what you can) which raised approx $350 , and I'm collaborating wish some incredible artists for upcoming projects.

One of the most beautiful things to come is "The Wright Show", being produced by Kayla Shaye and an amazing team of friends and fellow improvisors. It's a night of great comedy and will have some cool auction stuff too. https://www.facebook.com/events/736683810016095/

This abundance of love has shown me how isolated I was. This is what mental health looks like. My disorder prevents me from advocating for myself all the time, or at all. But when I can muster up the energy to broadcast myself, it's more in hope that people will see that anything is worth being happy and healthy and that they can literally do anything as long as they do something.

Lots and lots of somethings.

Thank you for your ongoing love and support.
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I’ve started to collaborate with Ruth Steinberg, an Ottawa based photographer who specializes in portraiture and fine art photography in an attempt to find beauty in a body that triggers body dysmorphia. Read more and see some of the first photos in a series to come.
http://angusbydesign.com/2018/08/10/loving-the-unlovable/
http://angusbydesign.com
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One of my successes in navigating my unique set of circumstances has been to try and balance the negative by injecting or creating positivity. Perhaps it's born out of the sheer need to survive but in my life it provides me with options to pull from memories. I imagine my brain is similar to Facebook Memories. If I'm left to think back on any particular day, it's super if that day's not filled with trauma, or it's byproducts like anxiety, depression, fatigue.

I haven't updated in a little bit because I've been running on "basic functions only" mode. Like when my car's fuel gauge reads E, it's late, and I'm unsure of the next fuelling station location.

Last night is a perfect example of locating the perfect service centre. Melissa; my improv wife, and creator of this campaign joined me on the stage at Shanghai Restaurant for a High Kicks duo set.

The show "The Speak Up" with an indie house team with the same name, having a chance to gather beforehand and warm up. Then it's off to the venue to start setting up, anticipating who's going to join our party. Each week has been a series of reunions, hugs and high fives. So many firsts for folks, like the first time trying improvised stand up, or matching randomly with other improvisors on a public stage.

The excitement after the show, at first standing out front of the restaurant as they closed shop but then last night they welcomed us for an extra hour.

When I look back at now, and my brain accesses memories of this moment in my life, these are the memories I'm going to access.

____

I want to say a huge thank you again to each and every person who's sent love and support. The notifications from things in the works, the likes, shares and comments of encouragement go really far in balancing the challenges.
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cw: heavy stuff

___

My nakedness has always been unattainable to me. First from someone who snatched any feeling of safety, then from a series of people who would take advantage. Eventually this would lead to a 500 lb reminder.

In 2007, I was introduced to Reiki and eventually I would become a Reiki Master. This also lead me in a new direction of healing and eventually I came to the realization that I was trapped inside a body that I didn't identify with.

For each pound I've lost, and kept off, there is the work that has gone into identifying where my weight came from. There is a great portion of people who do not have the same success with maintaining the weight loss.

The barriers we face can be enormous. Sometimes I compare myself to prescription medication when describing mine. "Side effects may include: PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Intrusive thoughts, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, IBS, Chronic pain, moodiness, loss of appetite..."

Fast forward to yesterday while hiking in an area I will often isolate myself in to disconnect from the stress. I focus on looking forward. I set my sights for what's ahead, to seeing that version of me that could never be realized, but somehow I felt like all of the previous versions of me deserved a chance at being complete.

I can barely be naked at home. The longer I am, the further distressed I become. My daily grooming routine reads like an abusive argument. The intrusive thoughts, the inability to unsee it. The physical sensation of having something alien on your body. I can't associate with the 8-10lbs of excess that I can't shed by my own means.

So as I walked, and yearned to feel free I stopped in place. I don't know how long I stood there. Next thing you know, the timer is set, and I capture a moment in time when I said "FUCK IT". This all occurred within 1 or so minutes at most. All senses heightened, eyes darting, heart racing, stomach churning, as if I'm on fire. Scrambling for clothes, feeling shame, can't dress fast enough, why did I do that?

But I did it! I felt it, for a split second. I felt free. I felt my feet touch the ground. I felt like nothing weighted me down. It was a split second, but it was worth it. This must have been how it felt before. I need to feel it again.

For every challenge there's a victory. This photo has been blurred over and over to erase the parts that scream out to me. Like standing in a current next to a dam that's slowly being released... this version is the most I could handle for now. It often leads me to feel like an imposter, but it's the most I've been able to do and there's that!

____

Thank you for your continued support. I would never have seen this success without the love and encouragement.
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$1,325 of $21,500 goal

Raised by 21 people in 3 months
Created June 13, 2018
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