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School helps obese teen get healthy

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On Feb. 21 Wetpaint shares a story that has now gone viral about an obese Indianapolis teen that weighed in at over 500 pounds and 6'4. Eric Ekis is only a freshman in high school, and when he started getting bullied because of his weight, a couple of his teachers became concerned.

Don Wettrick, Ekis' English teacher pulled the teen aside one day to talk to him about his weight and offered to work out with him in the mornings before school. Ekis said that he couldn't. Wettrick even pulled him aside one day to ask about his health. He found that his weight gain stemmed from losing his father unexpectedly and then undergoing painful surgery on both his legs that left him immobile for a long time. His mother even says that she didn't notice his weight gain until it was suddenly just all there, almost as if it showed up over night.

Wettrick and another teacher, Lesleigh Groce, decided to ask the school for help for Eric to get him active and to a healthier place all around. Wettrick asked his Independent Studies Innovations class to think of a creative project that could help Eric, and that is when Kevin Stahl, a member of the swim team took on Eric's case and started "Project Eric." It was a plan to get Eric healthy once again.

As part of the plan, Eric is now walking in the mornings, doing special nutrition classes, and is getting one-on-one counseling to deal with his grief from losing his father. Instead of being bullied, now classmates are asking Eric if he would like to walk with them during free periods or at lunch time, and they are sitting with him at lunch and encouraging him to make healthier choices.

Eric says that he's lucky that it was Kevin because he's a great guy and has really made a difference in his life.