Help Big Jim get life saving surgery

My journey: I was born in Ft Pierce Florida 43 years ago. I grew up in Martin County in what is in my opinion a great place to grow up. My parents divorced when I was 7 years old.
Growing up I was not overweight by any means. It wasn't until high school that I truly began putting weight on. My senior year I weighed in at 278 pounds. However it was not until I decided to join the military that I began to know what a challenge it was to lose and keep off the weight. In order to enlist I had to lose 47 pounds. It took me approximately 6 months to do this at which time I left for basic training. I felt great. I had accomplished a pretty big thing in dropping nearly 50 pounds in 6 months. So at 231 pounds I was a new recruit. Upon my arrival at basic training I was told that I was being monitored to ensure that I would continue to lose weight. When I graduated basic training I weighed 205 pounds. To make a long story short, the military was not truly an ideal place to maintain or even continue to lose weight. You see even though fitness is embedded as part of your daily life, you are still on your own in where and what you eat. The food in the military can be some of the best in the world. However it truly can be very high calorie food depending on what is being served.
When I was honorably discharged from the military my weight was back at the 235 pound mark. I came back home only to find that jobs were scarce and I leaned on an old friend that happened to own a retail ice cream store. Within one year I had put on 100 pounds. Poor judgment and a bad mental attitude is my only excuse.
Over the next 10 years the battle continued up and down, different programs and plans. No magic as we all know. It is all in the head.
Along about 2001 a local business and radio station WZZR linked up and formed a contest to win a 12 week nutrition program that included a personal trainer, gym membership and nutritional counseling. I was the winner of the contest and won the 12 week program. In that 12 week period I formed a great friendship with my trainer and my nutritional counselor as I began to drop nearly 90 pounds.
I felt great and I was also repairing my mind which leads me to get out of a relationship that was not conducive to my future.
After that I met my soul mate. My wife and her son became my reason to keep making myself better. We were married and our life began. Soon after we had our second son, at which time my wife underwent major back surgery. She awoke from the surgery paralyzed from the waist down. We had a 6 month old at home as well as a 5 year old. For 3 months my focus went from me to all about my wife and her recovery. We worked as a team over a 3 month period and got her back on her feet, and I am happy to say that now 11 years later she is not paralyzed and is truly a superwoman.
As life got back to normal we like so many others faced challenges that make nutrition and fitness take a back seat. Even though I coach both of my boys in youth football and stay involved in my community I take the focus off the fact that I am slowly killing myself. The next thing I know I step on the scale about 3 weeks ago and it screams 485 pounds. At 43 years old I simply break down alone and cry. How and why did I let this happen? No excuses I did it to myself. Now I am reaching out for help in a manner that I am not used to, I am used to helping others and doing. Now I am scared. I know and after a meeting with my Dr. that my life is on borrowed time. This surgery will save my life (My insurance has a 100% exclusion and will not pay for anything related to weight loss surgery.) ; I know it will be a success. I will only be able to repay those who believe in helping me by keeping the weight off and paying it forward.
Last week a local bariatric surgeon whom I had met with nearly two years ago called me out of the blue and offered his services pro bono. However the hospital and other related fees he has no power over. By him offering this it will cut the costs nearly 50% . So this is a blessing from God...
It has taken me a great deal of time and prayer to decide on this and to reach out. Not really something I am used to doing. I appreciate all of you more than you know.. If prayer is the only gift you are able to provide that is great: Just say a prayer for someone else at the same time on my behalf.

With much Love and Thanks
Big Jim
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Organizer

Jim Wethington 
Organizer
Port Saint Lucie, FL
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