Finishing the New York City Marathon was an emotional moment for Al Mora of Wesley Chapel. He did it, completing every step of the 26.2 miles. The race was a journey.
"When you make that last turn into Central Park, you've got 2/10 of a mile left to run," said a choked-up Mora.
Mora has fulfilled a life-long dream with every marathon he has run, from New York to Chicago to Gasparilla. It's remarkable for someone who once struggled with every step.
"355 the day of surgery is what I weighed," he said.
In December of 2009, Mora was 355 pounds and obese. He says nothing he did kept the weight off.
"I had just in the last couple of years leading up to the surgery got diagnosed with sleep apnea," Mora told FOX 13. "The fatigue was hitting me. I was starting to realize 'I need to get this under control.'"
Dr. Michel Murr says Mora could barely walk across the room when he first met him. Dr. Murr is medical director of the brand new Bariatric Center at Tampa General Hospital + USF Health. The center is dedicated solely to curbing the obesity epidemic through surgery, counseling, and nutrition. It's everything under one roof, eliminating usual hassles.
"They have to travel a lot to see multiple providers," explained Dr. Murr. "Each trip for them is sometimes a chore or a hardship, so we abbreviated all of that in one place."
Tampa General + USF Health's new Bariatric Center strives to make patients more comfortable with enlarged doors, roomy chairs, and a special scale.
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 1/3 of adults are considered obese and more than 2/3 are obese or overweight.
Mora lost 165 pound after surgery. He eats healthier now and less. He has gained a few pounds back, but he's about to start training for his next marathon.
And Mora just got married.
"We're going to try to enjoy the hell out of everything that's ahead of us," he said.
Mora says bariatric surgery is not for everyone, but the best decision for anyone who has walked a mile in his shoes.
TGH's new Bariatric Center has informational sessions every week.
For more information: http://www.tgh.org/weight.htm
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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