Weight loss program patients celebrate its 15th anniversary

Jun 4, 2019

More than 250 bariatric patients celebrated the 15th anniversary of The Southcoast Center for Weight Loss on Saturday, June 1.

Since the program started in 2004, more than 7,500 bariatric procedures have been performed and over 600,000 pounds have been lost. The event promoted healthy living, while recognizing the courage and determination required to overcome the disease of obesity.

“Great bariatric surgery requires great patient dedication,” said Dr. Rayford Kruger, physician-in- chief of surgery for Southcoast Health and the program’s founder. “Your courage and drive for a healthier life have made your surgery a success. We celebrate you today.”

The festivities were held at the Southcoast Center for Weight Loss located at 100 Rosebrook Way, where bariatric patients offered their weight loss stories to those in attendance. Dan O’Brien, of Scituate, who appears in TV commercials and print ads for the program, was a featured speaker. He lost 160 pounds after surgery and is currently engaged to be married.

“People ask me ‘why don’t you get paid to be such an advocate for the program?’ And I tell them I don’t need payment. My life is payment enough.” he said. “If my story can help save one person’s life then it will have served its purpose.”

Jo-Ann Silva, of Acushnet, said she decided on surgery four and a half years ago after she was unable to complete a hike with her daughters in the mountains of Utah’s Moab desert. She was half-way along the trail when she turned around accompanied by one of her daughters. Her other daughter went on to complete the hike.  “It broke my heart that I prevented [my daughter] from having a once in a life time experience,” she said with tears in her eyes. “Not only did I change my mind to make life better for myself, but I wanted to be a role model for my girls.”

Silva lost 150 pounds. She overcame diabetes, orthopedic issues, and high blood pressure. She was also able to complete her hike with her daughters a year after her surgery.

She continues to find inspiration from fellow patients in the program’s support groups, and she provides inspiration herself. “I’ve had multiple people come up to me and ask me about my journey and I am glad to be that inspiration,” she said.