Once dubbed “The World’s Heaviest Man,” a British man has traveled to New York City to undergo surgery to remove 99 pounds of excess skin.
Paul Mason, 54, of Ipswich, England, suffered from an eating disorder, growing to 980 pounds before undergoing gastric bypass surgery in February 2010, according to his YouCaring fundraising page. Since then, Mason has lost over 600 pounds and changed his relationship with food.
However, his weight loss left him with roughly 100 pounds of loose skin, hindering his walking and ability to exercise to continue to lose weight. His goal weight is 200 pounds, but he relies on a wheelchair.
Mason moved to the United States after deciding that waiting for the National Health Service (NHS) to cover surgery— which could take years— was no longer an option.
According to The New York Times, after an article about Mason’s dramatic weight loss and struggle with his loose skin appeared in the newspaper, the mother of Dr. Jennifer Capla, a plastic surgeon from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, called her and told her daughter she had to help Mason.
Capla told Mason that if he was able to get to the U.S., she would offer her services for free. Mason was to cover his transportation, hospital fees and aftercare, all of which he is fund-raising for on his YouCaring page.
Mason was cleared for surgery on Tuesday and will need to stay in New York for up to four weeks.
“Paul is reaching out to those who are struggling with obesity and emotional addiction to food,” his website reads. “He wants to spread awareness that for some people, being overweight is not a simple issue with a simple solution. Overcoming the psychological desire to eat is a bigger hurtle (sic) than many can overcome, but with the proper understanding and with a desire to change, anyone can turn their life around.”