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Bon Secours Gives Away Two Lap-Band® Weight Loss Procedures in Effort to Raise Awareness of Obesity Epidemic

Young mother hopes procedure will allow her to donate a kidney to her infant child

RICHMOND, Va. (Jan. 25, 2011) – The Bon Secours Center for Bariatric Excellence today announced the recipients of two free Lap-Band® Weight Loss Procedures. Sarah Steele, a self-employed hair stylist, and John Greene a programmer and Hanover County volunteer firefighter will receive free Lap-Band® procedures. Steele will receive her surgery on Friday, Jan. 28.

The 36-year-old Steele’s surgery may also save the life of her child. Steele, who is 4'11" and weighs 208 pounds, is hoping to end her life-long struggle with weight and get healthy enough to donate a kidney to her infant son. Greene, a Chesterfield resident and Hanover County volunteer firefighter, is 5'10" and weighs 323 pounds. Greene is hoping to rescue himself from obesity and all its complications, including sleeplessness.

“Obesity has become an epidemic in our country, and is the cause of many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease,” said Kathy A. Santini, vice president for surgical services at Bon Secours. While some people can successfully lose weight on their own, for some it's very difficult to lose the weight and keep it off long-term. Our goal is to raise awareness in the community and to let those who are struggling with significant long-term weight loss know that there is hope."

Last fall, in an effort to demonstrate the importance of lifestyle and healthy weight, the Bon Secours Center for Bariatric Excellence ( offered two free Lap-Band® weight-loss surgeries to people in the Richmond metropolitan area.

“It is important to build awareness around the effect obesity has on health, life expectancy and many disease processes. Often times this surgery can mean the difference between life and death for patients," said Gregory Schroder, MD, a Bon Secours bariatric surgeon. "We are thrilled to help Sarah and John achieve their goals of living healthier and happier lives, and we are grateful to them for sharing their stories."

The selection process included an application evaluation by a physician panel, a nutritional consult for the patient and personal interviews. Patients were selected for the free procedures based on physical, emotional and financial need. Bon Secours will absorb the cost of the Lap-Band® procedure including a one year follow up and surgical adjustments, which amounts to $16,000 per surgery. Prospective surgical candidates were required to have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 and to be 100 pounds or more overweight to register for the give-away (Lap-Band® patients generally weigh between 250 and 350 pounds). Applicants not selected will receive assistance with assessments and insurance needs to bring them a step closer to weight loss.

The Lap-Band® reduces the amount of food the stomach can hold at one time, helping patients to gradually lose weight and keep it off, ultimately living a healthier life. The average Lap-Band® patient can expect to lose up to 45 percent of excess body weight in the first year after surgery. The expectation for the second year is 50 percent, and 55 percent in the third year, if prescribed diet and exercise are followed and regular physician visits take place.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is the number one cause of hypertension, osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease and a variety of cancers, including pancreatic, kidney, prostate, colon, breast and endometrial. National research shows that weight-loss surgery resulted in an overall reduction of mortality by 60 percent, diabetes by 92 percent, heart disease by 56 percent and cancer by 60 percent.*

Virginia statistics show that 61.9 percent of Virginians are obese, 36.6 percent are overweight and 50 percent of Virginians do not meet the minimum requirement for moderate physical activity.**

The Bon Secours Bariatric Surgery Center for Excellence is located at St. Mary’s Hospital. Bariatric surgeons at St. Mary’s performed more than 2,300 Lap band surgeries over the past six years.

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About Bon Secours Virginia Health System
Bon Secours Richmond is part of Bon Secours Virginia (BSV), the fourth largest and only faith-based health system in Virginia, which is comprised of Bon Secours Richmond and Bon Secours Hampton Roads. BSV includes seven award-winning hospitals: four in Richmond (St. Mary’s Hospital, Memorial Regional Medical Center, Richmond Community Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center) and three in Hampton Roads. Bon Secours brings together a network of hospitals, primary care practices, ambulatory care sites and continuing care facilities to provide quality health care services to thousands of Virginians. The not-for-profit Catholic health system employs nearly 11,000 people, about 7,000 in Richmond and nearly 4,000 in Hampton Roads. Bon Secours Virginia hospitals offer a full-range of services including cardiac, women’s, children’s, orthopaedics, oncology, neurosciences and surgery (

*New England Journal of Medicine, 2007
**Virginia Personal Empowerment Plan

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