Austin Woman’s Fundraising Campaign on Indiegogo for Final Surgery

19 Oct

Please Help Fund Toni’s Final Surgery after Successfully Losing
over 150 lbs during Her Three-Year Weight Loss Journey

By Robert Hoskins

In mid-October 2010, Toni’s primary care doctor, Dr. Ian AlwardSouth Austin Medical Clinic based in Austin, Texas, told her point blank that if she did not quit smoking, drinking and starting eating better she would most likely die or have a heart attack before her next birthday. This was the beginning of a long and grueling weight loss journey that has led to a much better lifestyle and completely changed her life.

Toni on back porch taken approximately one-year after Dr. A said that she needed to lose 100 lbs, quit smoking, quit drinking and start eating healthy.Toni 14 Months into her Weight Loss JourneyGiving Up Cigarettes, Drinking and Junk FoodHer first and hardest step was giving up cigarettes.  After 30+ years of smoking at least a pack a day, she quit cold turkey.  Next, Dr. Alward put her on a strict diet that got rid of junk food and bad eating habits and started following a stringent meal plan that only included fish, veggies, nuts and drinking only water; a drastic change from junk food, fast food and her native food.  (Asking an Italian to give up pasta, pizza and bread was almost as bad as giving up nicotine.)

“I wish more of my patients listened as well as Toni. America has a serious problem with obesity and many individuals lose heart or have difficulty staying motivated to lose weight and improve their health,” said Dr. Ian Alward. “Toni is a great example for others to follow. It takes a strong will to make simple changes to your diet and adopt an active lifestyle.”

Dr. Alward continued, “I am very proud of Toni for her successful weight loss journey.  I would strongly encourage people to support her hard work and dedication to a healthier lifestyle.”

Toni working out at Raw Gym in Lakeway, TexasToni working out at Raw Power Gym in Lakeway, TexasAdopting an Active Lifestyle

Once her daily intake of bad things was corrected, Dr. Alward instructed her to begin a rigorous exercise program.  Not exactly an easy task for a 300+ lb female that is only 5′ 1″ tall.  Walking around the block more than 8 minutes was a huffing and puffing experience that led to panic attacks until she got used to the routine. With the help of family and friends, Toni began walking and kept going until she was ready for the next step.

How to Hire the Right Personal Trainer

Fast forward twenty-four months after a weight loss of 128 lbs, Toni finally had reached a point where she wanted to hire a personal trainer. She did her research, went through three personal trainers and finally ended up working out with a GREAT personal trainer, Paul Clear, at Raw Power Gym based in Lakeway, Texas, just west of Austin.  Her goal was to increase metabolism and build muscle to tone up her body as much as possible.  She started with working out one-time per week and gradually increased to three times a week. As a result she lost another 35 lbs.

“When you are grossly overweight and you are suffering from a serious self-esteem challenge, finding the right personal trainer can make or break your desire to go and work out five times a week,” said Toni Born.  “Replacing a drill sergeant who barks orders with no compassion and doesn’t truly care about his clients’ feelings with a caring personal trainer who is a true motivational guide and has a genuine interest in helping his clients achieve their goals made all the difference in the world for me.”

“After a year’s worth of trying three different personal trainers that cared more about making money than helping clients achieve their personal goals, Paul was the true inspiration that kept me going through my most difficult times and is now a trusted confidant and great personal friend,” continued Toni B.

Paul put Toni on a regiment of exercise that had helped her become acclimated to 30-minutes of cardio vascular exercises first, and then eased her into weights and more advanced, strenuous workouts.

“As a professional personal trainer, I spend many hours each week helping my clients build a better body. And when I met Toni and heard her weight loss story, I knew right away that she was going to be a great person to work with,” said Paul Clear, a personal trainer at Raw Power Gym in South Austin.  “Even though she had lost a tremendous amount of weight, her physical stamina was barely sufficient to get her through a 25-minute mobility workout, but it did not take her long to begin muscling her way through very vigorous workouts.”

“Toni had a very difficult time getting a loan to pay for her first skin removal surgery, but I can tell you first hand it made an incredible difference on how she felt about her body,” Clear added. “I sincerely hope that people in the Austin area will help her raise the money she needs to pay for the last skin removal surgery because she certainly deserves it as a reward for the hard work she has put into her successful weight loss journey.”

Extreme Weight Loss Leads to Excessive Sagging Skin

From the beginning weight of more than 300 lbs, Toni went from a size 24 pants and size 28 top to a size 4 pants and a petite small top. If you are a male, you may not understand how important this is, but every female will know exactly what it means to go down 10 sizes in pants. As you can imagine, Toni was very proud of herself for this significant three-year achievement.

And while all this progress was uplifting and dramatically improved Toni’s ability to get around, participate in normal activities, improve her self-confidence and self-esteem, it also created some depressing feelings, as well.  Even though there was a new, improved body laying underneath and a heart that was beating stronger than ever, the excess amount of sagging skin was completely masking the years of hard work that she had put into her personal journey. As you can see from her pictures, she looked liked a deflated balloon.

Seven months later, there was only one step remaining to complete. Find a plastic surgeon to remove the excess skin and reveal a shinning body that she could be proud of when she looked into the mirror and saw the new and improved Toni.

Hiring the Right Plastic Surgeon

After interviewing many doctors and reviewing their “before” and “after” photo albums, Toni was EXTREMELY impressed with Dr. Steven Holzman’s work, a plastic surgeon at the Plastic Surgery Center of Austin in North Austin that specializes in extreme weight loss skin removal surgery.

“Not all people are familiar with plastic surgery, but in reality we perform many good deeds for our patients that really need help to improve their bodies for reasons other than vanity,” commented Dr. Steven Holzman.  “We help patients just like Toni every single day.  She has made remarkable progress in her life by successfully losing more than a hundred pounds, but was left with a significant amount of loose skin which is very traumatic for patients with this condition.”

“These types of patients are extremely proud of their accomplishments, but are left with self-esteem issues because of the loads of wrinkled skin which is completely hiding all of their hard work,” Holzman stated. “Many people have a fear of surgery but after the process is complete, when I look into their eyes and see their overwhelming satisfaction, the feeling is priceless.”

How to Pay for Expensive Skin Removal Surgery

The final step was trying to figure out a way to pay for the surgery. Toni tried several options to pay for the surgery.  Her credit union, University Federal Credit Union, her credit card company and several other local banks denied her application for an unsecured loan to finance the two separate operations Toni needed, even though she had good credit scores from all three credit bureaus.

Luckily there was a local Good Samaritan in town, Wells Fargo Bank, which was willing to take a chance on Toni based on her credit history and listening to her inspirational story and personal weight loss history.

“In the banking business, we are presented with a lot of unique requests for personal loans, but as I listened to Toni’s story, it really tugged on my heart strings. I checked her credit history and was pleased to see that she had a great credit score on all three credit bureaus,” stated Emily McKenzie, a Wells Fargo loan officer at the Brodie Lane Branch in South Austin. “Toni received the loan based on her credit history and now she has moved all of her business to Wells Fargo because she feels that we are a bank that truly cares about her — and we do.  We are in the relationship business.”

McKenzie added, “Toni came to the bank to make her loan payment and showed me the results of her first surgery.  It made my day that we were able to help make one of her dreams come true. We sincerely hope that she can find enough crowdfunding donors on indiegogo to help her pay for the final surgery. She deserves it!”

First Skin Removal Surgery

Toni has already taken out a $19,000 loan to pay for the first surgery on her own.  The original price for the first skin removal surgery was $19,000, but some minor complications required her to stay in the hospital an extra day, which added an additional $1,000 to her medical bill that was unexpected.

Even though it was expensive, you can see from her pictures, the body improvement after the first surgery was simply amazing!

Crowdfunding Goal

The problem now is that Toni is maxed out on the amount she can borrow. The second surgery to remove the remaining excess skin from her arms and legs will cost around $9,000. In addition, she needs to find a way to pay for the additional $1,000 bill that she was charged for staying an extra night in the hospital. So her total crowdfunding goal is to raise $9,999.

Hoping to harness the compassion of the crowd, Toni is seeking 133 people to donate $75 each to help her complete her personal weight loss saga.  Unlike most crowdfunding campaigns, she doesn’t have much to offer except an eternal debt of gratitude.

If she does not raise the full amount needed for the second surgery, she will apply all donations to her first loan of $19,000, plus the $1,000 for the unexpected extra hospital day.  If she raises more than her goal of $9,999 for the final surgery, she will apply everything she receives to pay off all her skin removal surgery debt.

Please Share this Story on Social Media

Even if you cannot help with money, it would be immensely helpful if you could forward her personal story to your family, friends and business colleagues via your social network circles.  You can send this link: http://igg.me/at/help-toni-raise-donations-for-surgery via e-mail or social media posts to help Toni spread the word.

And please note the personal courage it took to post these photographs of her body before and after the first procedure.  She has some real skin in the game, pun intended, and over $19,000 of her own money paid for the first surgery. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Notes from Toni’s Supporters:

Amy – Friend in Austin

“Once Toni started losing weight, she began to be more and more inspired, but at the same time it was probably the most depressing part of her journey because she had so much loose skin leftover after the weight lost,” Amy, a close personal friend who took care of Toni after the first skin removal surgery. “It was very hard for her to post pictures of her barely clothed body for everyone to see, but in her mind she is very proud of what she has accomplished and she wants others to see that having the excess skin removed makes an amazing difference in her self-esteem and the entire process worthwhile. If this crowdfunding campaign works, it will be very beneficial to someone who really deserves it!”

Allison – Friend in North Austin

“When I first met Toni and heard her story, we bonded instantly because I had gone through a similar weight loss experience,” said Allison, another co-worker and now personal friend. “I had never heard of crowfunding before she shared this profile with me, but I sure hope that she can find enough people to donate $75 each because she really, really deserves it!  She has put a lot of hard work into losing all of this weight. If you look at her “before” and “after” pictures, it is easy to see why she needed this surgery so bad.”

Allison continued, “And the fact that she went and took out a $19,000 bank loan on her own to pay for the first surgery shows that she has some real skin in the game, pun intended.  Now she just needs a little help from friends, family and good Samaritans to raise the final $9,999 that she is seeking to complete her weight loss transformation.”

Marianna – Friend in South Austin

“Toni is a women I respect not only because she has a beautiful soul but also because she has done what most only say they are going to do every January 1st,” said Marianna, one of Toni’s co-workers and personal friends.  “To lose the weight like she has in the past three years is very motivating in the fact that she inspired me to follow through with my own goals.  She is a motivator and an inspiration to those around her.  If she can raise enough money through this crowdfunding campaign to accomplish this last bit of her weight loss goal…I say thank you in advance.”

Members of the Press

If you are a reporter, please call Robert Hoskins, Front Page PR, at (512) 627-6622.  He has a full electronic press kit, press releases, photos, and numerous fitness research reports that are full of cool facts and figures. He is very responsive and will be glad to setup a quick 10-minute phone interview.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: