Matt's Excess Skin Removal Surgery
$57,155 of $20,000 goal
Now, 6 years later, I need your help.
This is only an estimation, but based on what I'm seeing online I'm estimating I'll need around 20,000 dollars in order to get the chest, tummy and arm work that will go into fixing my excess skin. I plan on getting a consultation soon, so this is subject to change, but this is what I'm estimating for right now.
Here's what the Upworthy article written about me had to say:
To stay motivated, he started sharing his journey on social media, posting before-and-after photos, answering questions and giving support to followers, and even sharing his meals and favorite workouts. Six years later, Matt is down over 270 pounds and is a very active voice in the online body-positivity movement.
But in all his years of sharing his story, the one thing he's never done is showed what his body looks like after 200+ pounds of weight loss. So he decided to upload a video to his Tumblr and show his followers his true self.
What follows are a series of questions I answered in that article!
What's the response been like? Anything particularly unexpected?
"I think that putting any opinion on the Internet will garner a certain amount of negativity and cynicism, but I haven't seen anything like that at all. I've read every comment and message since the video has gone up, literally thousands, and they're all so thoughtful.
A really surprising side-effect were the number of transgender people who've thanked me saying that they understood my struggle, even though their body-related insecurity grew from different roots. I'd never even begun to [think] of what that must be like, and the fact that my message could help even though my problems began somewhere else is really incredible."
What advice or words of encouragement do you have for someone who's struggling to love their body?
"I know it's difficult, especially when you're starting out. I want you to remember that you are not the problem, certain aspects of society are the problem. You'll constantly be told that you're too heavy or too tall to be attractive, or you're not masculine or feminine enough, or that your skin isn't the right tone or your hair isn't the right color, and these people are always always always wrong.
Luckily, we're slowly starting to see these ideas get phased out by modernity. Plus-sized, unretouched models are getting more attention in major brands, more attention is being put on the alternative scene for high fashion, it's becoming clear that these negative ideas are not going to last, though it's going to take a while."
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and for donating if you have.
The surgeon I've selected (Dr. Matthew Schulman) and I are working diligently with a publicist, and we're weighing our options with who we want to select to document my procedures and recovery. I let you all into my life and you supported me so heavily that I want to share the last steps of my weight loss journey with you, and this will be the best way to do it! If it all works out, you'll be able to see my procedures, as well as my feelings about the entire process. We're going to be able to announce it very soon!
If you don't follow any of my social media channels you might not know, but this experience really taught me about self-love and acceptance. It's wonderful to want to lose weight or change your appearance, but what matters is that you choose to do it based on wanting to live a better life, and not because you feel like the public shames you into it.
I'm a body positivity advocate, and I'm working towards becoming a public speaker and writer based around the subject. I believe it can do a lot of good and help a lot of people, and all I want to do with this attention is to help make the world a more welcoming place to be in. I truly believe that at our core, we want to help others grow and thrive to become the best people they can possibly be.
I've just started a blog series on my website, addressing questions and topics I see occur often related to self-image. The first question addresses how people see body positivity as "glorifying being fat" and how it isn't true in the slightest.
You can find that at http://www.MattJosephDiaz.com/blog
If you're interested in contacting me for any opportunities related to writing or public speaking, you can also reach me there at http://www.mattjosephdiaz.com/booking or email me directly at MattJosephDiaz@gmail.com
I appreciate everything you've done for me, and I intend to use it to help everyone that I can.
More info soon.
A part of this is a video series I've been doing on the importance of body positivity and self love. The latest, uploaded Saturday, is called "3 Steps Towards Self Love" about the tools I used to help me love myself more.
Feel free to check it out:
More info soon!
The 51k (approximately how much I received once GFM took their cut) has been placed into a savings account where it cannot be touched until I make my next steps.
I'm going to be working with Dr. Matthew Schulman, who isn't only an incredibly accomplished and well known cosmetic surgeon, but also understands the message and ideologies behind everything I'm trying to do.
He's going to waive his fees for the excess skin procedures, which greatly reduce the amount I'll have to pay from anywhere around 50k to around 15k after paying for staffing and medical costs and whatnot.
We're discussing exact dates for the procedures to begin, but at this point we're looking into the middle/end of this summer! How exciting!
That being said, in the upcoming weeks I'll be announcing more details about my plans to donate up to anywhere from 15-20,000 dollars total (the original goal of the gofundme) in small increments on a weekly basis, to other GoFundMe pages in a similar situation.
The remaining difference between the charity (15-20k) and the medical costs (up to 15k) will go towards helping me stay on my feet while I won't be working during the healing process, but I also hope to use it to possibly start traveling in order to speak at schools, conferences and summits about the importance of body image in the near future.
I want to give back, both directly and indirectly.
In addition, I'm working with Dr. Schulman's publicist who is helping to spread the story to news/media outlets and we can possibly even document the procedures and recovery!
I'm so grateful for everything you've done for me. The care, kindness and support you've given me. You took my biggest moment of vulnerability and turned it into a triumph of self-love and body positivity. You took a 22 year old kid and helped him realize his dreams: to help people be happy and love who they are.
We're going to do great things.
In the meantime, please go look at Dr Schulman's website at http://www.drschulmanplasticsurgery.com, and you can follow him at @nycplasticsurg on Twitter.
More details soon.
I've just requested a withdrawal of the money you all have donated to me. My consultation is happening within the next few days, so I want to have it available when I discover the costs of the procedure.
Once it is deposited into my account, it will be placed in an otherwise empty savings account separate from my own money, where it will not be touched until I know the exact cost of my procedure and work out how much else I will be holding onto for unforeseen costs /expenses during the recovery time. Then, we can talk about how I'll be giving back what else there is.
I want you to know how much this is changing my life. Not only the procedure itself or the donations you've given me, but the kindness and support and attention.
I'm making shifts in my life now, because of you all. I've decided to pursue a career in public speaking, to tell my story and encourage others all over the country and maybe even the world to love themselves. I want to use the care and attention you've all given me in order to make the world a better place, where people can be themselves without fear of judgement or being outcast, by spreading a good message one person at a time.
The message is this:
You are beautiful, strong and wonderful as you are. There is no shame in wanting to change, as long as you're doing it because you want to be more and not because others are shaming you into it. In a world that is constantly trying to define you, being who you are is the most incredible and powerful thing you can possibly be.
Thank you all so much for everything.
I plan to use every bit of this to try and help people.
P.S.: If you're interested in possibly hiring me to speak at your conference, summit or college, please visit MattJosephDiaz.com for contact information.
Matt, I definitely know what you're dealing with. Losing 220 pounds(myself) has left me in the same position. It's something I didn't think about at first as I was losing the weight. It was only as I got closer and closer that I realized a lot of it would never go away. A lot of people think it's just about looks, but a huge part of it is comfort and just performing everyday tasks. It's difficult to understand without living it. Congratulations and I wish you luck going forward.
MATT, I HAVE READ AND HAVE SEEN OTHER PEOPLE WITH PROBLEMS, THEIR TALK HAS BEEN VERY UPLIFTING HOWEVER YOU ARE THE BEST OF THE BEST. GREAT JOB IN SHOWING HOW FANTASTIC THAT YOU ARE. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU TO HAVE THE COURAGE IN MAKING THIS VIDEO.YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL PERSON, LOOKS DO COUNT AND I AM SURE WHEN THIS IS ALL OVER ,YOU WILL BE A TOP INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKER AND PROBABALY BE A MOVIE STAR MORE IN DEMAND THAN GEORGE CLOONEY, OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO AND BE. I AND WE ARE THE MOST PROUD OF YOU. KEEP UP THIS GREAT RECOVERY AND GO MAN GO .YOU ARE THE BEST.
I am so happy for you and for all of us that have been touched by your story. Thank you for keeping the ball rolling and your light shining and the love flowing. May you continue to be blessed and held on your journey. The ripples are wide from your actions. Thank you., thank you, thank you.
Hi Matt thank you for sharing your awesomely inspirational story! You have done so well and shouldn't worry about what others think! I felt like I kind of got to know you just by watching your video and wanted to reach out to you about an amazing opportunity that I think you would be really perfect for it's about helping people to get healthy and live more fulfilling lives
Hi Matt ! My companion had the same issue as you (massive weight loss and lot of skin to deal with). I know how hard it could be at this state to find your body attractive, because my companion felt the same. I met him after his weight loss, with still lot of skin, but for me, he’s the most beautiful man in the world, because he has an incredible soul. You have this incredible soul, so, keep smiling ! You’re beautiful !
Young man you are an inspiration to anyone who has had to fight with obesity . I am a 46 year old male and at my heaviest I was 450 pounds, I had all sorts of health issues which made me decide 13 months ago that enough was enough. I started on a journey to lose all that weight, now I am happy to say that I have lost 196 pounds and am so proud of myself. So Matt hearing your story makes me feel so proud of you to share your story. Keep up the great work Matt.
Hello Matt, I am proud to see how much work you have put in and the results that you have achieved because of it. I am also trying to get excess skin removed and have started a go fund me campaign. I have lost 230 pounds over the last 2 years and I need the surgery to remove the 20 pounds of excess skin that I have. If you could share my story with others I would appreciate it because it looks like you received a whole lot of support from friends. Thank you and good luck with your surgery
Matt, I think you are an amazing person and your generosity to share is very admirable. My profile picture is my mom, she died last year and was obese most of her life and suffered with diabetes and high blood pressure because of it. Your positive actions at a young age will extend your life and provide a role model of what can be done when you are determined. My donation is what I would have spent on Mothers day this year buying her flowers but I am making an investment in you that you will continue educating others on what can be done to turn your life around. Best Wishes to you Matt, and Happy Mothers Day.
I just left this message for Dr. Matthew Schulman: I wanted to personally thank you for your generosity towards Matt for Matt's Excess Skin Removal Surgery. It's not everyday that someone of your caliber steps up to help someone in his position. I'm a registered nurse with 15 years ICU experience, a mother of six, and a recipient of a Mommy Makeover. I still am in the process of losing weight (38 lbs so far in 14 weeks thanks to Ideal Protein) , and someday will get further plastic surgery. You have made Matt's journey to help others possible. May you be blessed in all of your future endeavors!
So proud. It's the. Insurance companies that day the surgery is cosmetic so we're can't get out done,if we go through l this work and insults on how we take the easy way to lose weight. They don't understand. The skin hurts,pulls. And causes discomfort. Proud you e able too all for help. Someday my hanging skin will be gone too...i hope. Prayers all goes perfect,because you are!
Thanks for the update Matt!! We wish you all the best!!!
Matt, congratulations on your fitness and health goals. You look amazing and I am glad you got the financial support to get the surgeries you needed.