Surgery for Healing Beyond the Skin

$7,420 of $8,500 goal

Raised by 103 people in 30 months
Coral Schnippert
on behalf of John McClanahan
 BEND, OR
Mark McClanahan lost over 150 pounds through diet and exercise, without the aid of bariatric surgery or any other medical intervention. As exciting an accomplishment as this is, excess skin left from the weight loss is still impeding his freedom and impacting his quality of life. Unfortunately, insurance has denied coverage for the surgery, despite more than one doctor submitting it as medically necessary.  


From a close loved one, Coral:


I believe with all my heart that Mark deserves this surgery, and would like to take a moment to share with you what makes this man so remarkable.

I met Mark in the spring of 2013, and what amazed me about him above all was his heart for service. I am physically disabled and often require a wheelchair. I also need a daily caretaker. From the very beginning, Mark was naturally compassionate and helpful with my health. Just 3 short months after we met, my 38-year-old sister, who had terminal cancer, was given 2 weeks to live. Mark risked his job to drive me from Oregon to California so that I could say goodbye to her in her last days. He took care of me the entire two weeks on his own, as my family was occupied with caring for my dying sister. Had he not reached out to help, I likely would not have had the chance to spend this last precious time with her. A little over a year later, my father also died from cancer, and Mark steadily, gently and patiently helped me through the crushing grief of both losses.

Whenever we spend time together, he goes above and beyond to do most everything for me -- pushing my wheelchair, bringing me whatever I need, sometimes even carrying my body from one place to another. He has told me many times that one of his greatest passions is being of service to others, and now I hope this is my chance to help him in return.

Some photos taken at a friend's wedding:


Mark's Story:

Mark grew up as a child of alcoholism, family addiction, emotional abuse, and neglect. He has struggled with severe depression and anxiety most of his life, and eventually turned to food and alcohol as a young adult to escape. With little encouragement or support from his family growing up, he isolated himself from most everyone in his life. By July 2008, Mark weighed 350 pounds.  He has told me that his back hurt just walking down the street, that he couldn't fit into a booth at a restaurant, and he could barely fit into his own car even with the seat all the way back.

During a visit with his doctor, Mark was informed his cholesterol and blood pressure levels were so high that he had a good chance of having a heart attack in the next year or two. Sobered by the news, he made the decision to finally commit to losing weight. He changed his diet and adopted an exercise regime at both the gym and at home. By spring of 2009, less than a year after his initial meeting with his doctor, he had lost 70 pounds. By 2011 he was down 120 pounds, and by April 2014 he had lost an astounding 150 pounds in all. In under six years, he brought his weight down from 350 to 198 pounds. In 2012, he started his journey on addiction awareness, eventually joining 12-step programs and getting regular counseling to work through his past traumas. He has maintained the weight loss for almost two years and is continuing to better himself—physically, emotionally, and mentally.


Hanging skin pictured below.   Right and left pics shows Mark holding the skin up for photographing.

Now we need your help to continue the healing process. After such a dramatic change, Mark is left with hanging, deflated skin as a result of his weight loss. His doctor has noted that he likely has close to 10-15 lbs of loose skin alone.  This excess skin, especially on his torso, has physical ramifications that degrade his quality of life. It causes ongoing painful infections which require continuous treatment. Repeated infections has even caused scarring in this area. It also prevents him from being as active as he yearns to be. The skin pulls and causes pain if he attempts to run or jump without binding it first. He is limited in what forms of exercise he can participate. In addition, it increases his risk for injury in performing daily tasks at his job as a Products Service Associate. Attached is a recent photo of a bruise he suffered from one such injury.
His physicians agree that the skin removal surgery is medically necessary, and have submitted it to his insurance company multiple times. Unfortunately, insurance has denied coverage for his surgery each time, and the modest pay he receives at his job leaves very little room for extra expenses. We are asking for help to cover the cost of this life-changing surgery.
Please help me help an extraordinary individual who has changed my life for the better and gives freely without asking for anything in return. Having this surgery would not only improve his quality of life, but remove a painful reminder of a difficult past and help progress him farther along his road to recovery.  He has moved heaven and earth to better himself against all odds, and if it's in my power, I want to help him achieve this last health goal for which he's fought so hard. 
Thank you all so much, and may 2018 be beautiful and bright for all!

Below photography by Mark, click here for more:


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I just wanted to give everyone a quick update! I am half done with a video update I meant to finish ages ago, but life happens and while I'm finishing that I figure you all deserve to hear the status of how Mark's doing sooner than later. The great news is, Mark has recently become a conductor for the railroad in Utah, which is a dream job for him! So that's incredibly exciting. We have almost reached our goal on this fundraiser, so the surgery is officially happening as soon as he gets the time off! Because he's a new employee, it will take some time for him to accrue the 2 weeks personal leave required for the post-surgery recovery, but it will be happening once he gets that time. I will be sharing more detail about all of this in the video update, so stay tuned. And a HUGE thank you to every person who donated, it blows Mark and I away that the fundraiser has come this far, and we have so much gratitude to each and every one of you. <3
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Summer is almost here! Where has the time gone? I realized recently I hadn't posted an update on behalf of Mark in quite a while, so after him and I went to celebrate his birthday yesterday (he's just turned a young 41!), I thought now is the perfect time. So the first piece of news is: I have lowered our fundraising goal, so in effect we're now closer to it! The reason is basically that the more research I did about the surgery he needs, the more I realized that the city we're in is charging the higher end of the range for the procedure, and there are other places that do it for a couple thousand cheaper even with the same standard of care. So we just need to pick the city we want to go with the best facility in this price range when he's ready to do it, and go. The second piece of news is that Mark has recently acquired a second job (Bend is not a cheap place to live!), so he has pushed back the timeline of the procedure until he is able to block out the several-week period required to heal after such a major surgery. We definitely hope this can still happen in the next two years, and that's his current projection. We still fully intend to follow through on this and are still accepting donations! I also still will be putting together a new video of Mark in his natural habitat (hiking!) where he shares more intimately how far he has come on his incredible path. We already shot the footage! As always, we have been so blown away by the incredible amount of generosity, support and love Mark has received since embarking on this incredible journey. Thank you again to everyone, we love you, and happy almost Summer!
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To start this New Year off, I was going through our first GoFundMe posts and was amazed at how far we have come since then! Nearly 65% there! I'm so humbled by the outpouring of love and support we had for this cause over the course of the year of 2016. Mark has kept the weight off all this time, and we can see the end in sight! If anyone has been wanting to donate or wants to donate again, Mark and I would be incredibly grateful to see this dream realized sometime in the New Year. Thank you again to all my family and friends, and Happy 2017! <3
Taken Thanksgiving 2016
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In writing this update, I will be candid -- one of the main reasons I've been shy to post recently is that there seems to be so much going on in the world lately, and I know there are many important causes that need attention. But everyone has been so supportive in helping us get to this point, and we've come so far, I hope to come a bit farther! To anyone who still wants to donate, remember no amount is too small, it adds up quick (we're over 60% there!)! My goal is to also post a new video update interviewing Mark in the next month, so you can all hear how grateful he is directly! Mark has real hope that this surgery will be possible sometime next year if we're able to keep toward our goal as we have been. And then you all get to see before and after photos! Thanks again to everyone who has donated thus far, it means more than we can properly express. <3
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Read a Previous Update
Natasha Lee
29 months ago
2
2

Sending love and healing to you Mark ♥

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$7,420 of $8,500 goal

Raised by 103 people in 30 months
Created December 26, 2015
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$75
Cook It Up Paleo
3 months ago
1
1

Ebook donations :)

FD
$36
Fundraiser Donations
6 months ago (Offline Donation)
1
1

Thank you everyone for contributing through RedBubble and Teepublic!

FD
$39
Fundraising Donations
8 months ago (Offline Donation)
1
1

Thank you everyone for contributing through RedBubble and Teepublic!

$25
Ruby Thompson
8 months ago
2
2

Almost there ♥ Keep pressing on

CP
$20
Cook It Up Paleo
9 months ago
2
2

Ebook proceed donations for August :)

Natasha Lee
29 months ago
2
2

Sending love and healing to you Mark ♥

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