1. ITV Report

Man launches funding appeal to remove loose skin after shedding 30st in 18 months

A man who has lost an incredible 29st in just 18 months after being told his weight was was risking his life has launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for his excess skin to be removed.

Eighteen months ago, Paul Stevenson was on the verge of any number of potentially fatal health problems.

He weighed in at 51st, had diabetes, repeated episodes of gout, and had been housebound for four years.

It all began when his mother Valerie died in 2000, sending him into a spiral of depression, anxiety, and comfort-eating.

He finally called his GP in April 2015 to plead for help.

“I couldn’t carry on like that - I knew I had to do something,” he said.

“I used to leave my key in my letterbox so my mates could let themselves in. I would have an anxiety attack just opening the door.

“When I saw the doctor, I was basically told that I was going to die if I didn’t start losing weight - and that I needed to do it quite quickly.”

Paul weighed 51st before his operation Credit: Paul Stevenson

He was given gastric sleeve surgery in May last year, reducing the size of his stomach to help him cut down on his intake, as well as stave off hunger pains.

He’s now cut down his 7,000 calorie-a-day diet to three small meals; swapping takeaways for chicken breasts and lettuce, and the two litres of regular Coca Cola he would drink for water.

He also goes to the gym six days a week.

But while his hard work has paid off - he’s now weighing in an just over 22st - he’s been left with an excess of loose skin.

I hate what I see when I look in the mirror.

It stops me from getting a job - I can’t get clothes that fit.

I want to be able to put back into the system. I want to be able to work, I want to have a normal life. This at the moment is standing in the way.

– Paul Stevenson
Paul says he is desperate to get rid of the excess skin Credit: ITV News Central

The NHS has told him he doesn’t yet meet the criteria for an operation to remove the skin.

In a statement, the NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:

Removal of excess skin is normally considered to be a cosmetic procedure and any patients’ circumstances are considered against policy criteria to make sure there is a significant health improvement measured against surgical risk for the patient.

– NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group

Paul says they’ve told him he would need to get below 15st - and when around 6st of his weight is in the skin, he argues that it’s nigh-on unattainable.

He’s now crowdfunding to pay for the operation privately, and has almost reached £2,000 already.

Credit: ITV News Central

He says all he wants is to be able to focus on his future.

I’d love to help people that suffer with obesity. I’d love to be able to turn around to somebody who feels as though they’re beyond help and say: ‘You’re not.’

I was 51st and I wasn’t beyond help. It takes a lot of hard work, it takes a lot of determination - there are days when you want to sit there and cry. But you can do it.

The only person that stops anybody from doing anything in this world is themselves. I’d love to be able to help people change their lives.

– Paul Stevenson
His consultant, Sherif Awad, is backing the campaign Credit: ITV News Central

He also has the support of his surgeon at the Royal Derby Hospital, Sherif Awad, who said he believes the health service needs to stop thinking of this kind of surgery as cosmetic.

“As well as the functional benefits of being able to survive as a human being on a daily basis, medically there will be benefits of reducing the costs of dressings, recurrent consultations at the GP office, district nurses coming out, etc,” he said.

“So there are clinical benefits, as well as economic benefits, as well as functional benefits to patients in this sub-group.”