In January 2013, a small group of people from San Antonio's branch of Spark People weight-loss team led the way to completing a half marathon. Many of those crossing the finish line were celebrating reaching a goal in their personal wellbeing, having battled the bulge for years, or wanting to be more active, and leading that group to their collective goal was San Antonian grandmother of 3, MaryJane Harrison.
Standing at just 4 ft 10" tall, and weighing over 260lb, MaryJane has fought to control her weight and subsequent health problems for many years, and after training every Sunday morning for a year, she successfully completed the 13.1 mile marathon. But the event left her with myriad health issues, including stress fractures in her feet, knee pain, and back pain - her degenerating bones feeling the strain worse and worse every day in the months that followed.
Having been diagnosed a few years ago with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), along with heart issues which resulted in a stent being placed to keep her arteries unclogged, Lupus, and arthritis, the daily grind of caring for 2 of her small grandchildren full-time has taken its toll, and MJ's primary care doctor suggested that her only hope for a longer, healthier life, was to proceed with bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery).
However, despite having health insurance through her husband's work, MJ has been declined by her own, and various other health insurance companies, stating that this type of procedure is rarely covered, and that she would have to find the entire cash amount of $14, 450 herself to pay for the operation. And like even the most frugal people, this amount of money is above and beyond what MJ and her family can afford, and even though it is clear that, in the long run, thousands of dollars would be saved each year by the insurance companies who pay out on the cost of MJ's weight-related doctor visits and medications, patient advocacy won't budge.
Which is why her daughter, Carly, mother of two of MJ's grandchildren, has stepped forward to create a fundraiser to help her mother pay for the pricey surgery.
"My mom has always taken care of me. She's my strength and my best friend. Without her, I would be lost. She has given me a fighter's heart and I will use every bit of fight in me to raise that money one way or another. We will not let some ridiculous policy of an insurance company stand between her and her health."
For more information about MaryJane, including a mini biography, and the goals she hopes to achieve, please visit her SparkPeople page.
To make a donation to help MJ reach the financial goal needed for her bariatric surgery, please click here.