The jour­ney con­tin­ues for Karen Kelly

En­cour­ag­ing oth­ers by shar­ing her story

The Southern Gazette - - EDITORIAL - BY COLIN FARRELL

“You’re tak­ing my rights away, what gives you the right to take my right away from me to vote my (choice for) mayor in, you can vote your mayor in if you want too, who­ever you want to vote for put their name on the bal­lot and then you can vote for that per­son if that want to put their name on the bal­lot…,” he said

Loretta Lewis, pres­i­dent of the Burin Penin­sula Cham­ber of Com­merce, spoke on be­half of the cham­ber urg­ing coun­cil to put aside their dif­fer­ences for the good of busi­ness and the peo­ple of the town of Marystown.

“We need a func­tion­ing coun­cil,” she said in the con­clu­sion of her ad­dress to coun­cil.

“You need us and we need you, it’s mu­tual. Be care­ful you’re not un­do­ing all the good that you have done, we the town, the peo­ple feel you are our par­ents — we are the chil­dren — we are caught in a di­vorce here with our town coun­cil, and for god’s sake ei­ther sep­a­rate, move away from each other or get back to­gether.”

When Karen Kelly first made the de­ci­sion to re­gain her life, she had no idea of the at­ten­tion that her and her dog Mya would re­ceive.

“It’s un­real,” she said to the re­ac­tion she has been get­ting.

Kelly has been con­tacted by sev­eral me­dia out­lets since shar­ing the story of her weight lose jour­ney. Since 2012 she has lost ap­prox­i­mately 200 pounds, Re­cently she was con­tacted by a pop­u­lar Amer­i­can talk show.

“I never imag­ined my story go­ing in­ter­na­tional,” she ex­plained. “Be­ing asked to go to New York City to go on the ‘To­day Show’ was some­thing I never imag­ined.”

Kelly said that with each in­ter­view she does there is an­other re­quest that fol­lows.

“I be­lieve peo­ple see a ‘real’ per­son,” she said. “I didn’t diet, I cut back, I walked my dog, (and) I got a group of strangers to­gether for Zumba who are now fam­ily.”

Kelly said peo­ple have been reach­ing out to her for help and ad­vice.

“High school stu­dents are reach­ing out to me to help lose weight for grad,” she said. “Oth­ers want to know how to han­dle young life over­weight. I get hun­dreds of mes­sages from all around now ask­ing for help.”

She said that be­cause she has been through it, she can re­late to those who are turn­ing to her.

“I opened up about my men­tal ill­ness and how I fought de­pres­sion for years,” she ex­plained. “Peo­ple can con­nect to me on the weight is­sue, the men­tal as­pect, the high school girl who wasn’t asked to the dance, the girl who was told, ‘You’d be pretty if you lost the weight.’”

She added that there needs to be more un­der­stand­ing in the world.

“Peo­ple who are over­weight are no less of a per­son and should not be treated like sec­ond class cit­i­zens,” Kelly said. “Peo­ple with de­pres­sion or anx­i­ety are not crazy. Peo­ple need to talk and peo­ple need to lis­ten.”

Kelly said her story has never been about her weight lose but rather, “It’s about com­ing to terms with how I got so big.”

“It took a lot of soul search­ing to re­al­ize just how bro­ken of a per­son I was,” she said. “I be­lieve if given the op­por­tu­nity, I can reach oth­ers. I hear the suc­cess sto­ries of peo­ple fol­low­ing me. I just need the help to reach more peo­ple. I’m told I’m a voice for the voice­less and I be­lieve I am.”

On Wed­nes­day Kelly started the sec­ond part of her jour­ney, she un­der­went Kelly surgery to re­move ac­cess skin.

“I have lost pretty much an­other per­son now and enough though I walk, run, teach Zumba, (do) low im­pact and my own on­line fit­ness chal­lenges, this skin can­not tone.”

The ex­c­cess skin was caus­ing prob­lems for Kelly that can only be cor­rected with the surgery.

“My back is hurting now,” she said. “I tell peo­ple imag­ine putting a 10lb (sack of) pota­toes on their stom­ach and see how it feels. I have a large amount of skin and af­ter all my hard work, I want to feel com­fort­able in my own skin.”

The surgery cost and af­ter care to­tal ap­prox­i­mately $10,000, and are not cov­ered by MCP.

“They said it’s a spe­cial­ized field and not many peo­ple lose this much weight . . .so pretty much the de­mand isn’t there,” she ex­plained.

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