Bariatric Surgery Events News Stories

Washington University Shows Support at the Annual Walk from Obesity

On June 3 in Tilles Park, the Weight Loss and Metabolism Center showed an outpouring of support at the TREO Foundation’s 2023 Walk from Obesity. Bariatric surgeons, patients, faculty, staff – as well as their friends, family, and other supporters – came together with a number of organizations in the name of funding bariatric research, education, and access to care.

Established in 2003, the Walk from Obesity is the only national walkathon event aiming to raise funds and bring attention to the disease of obesity and options for treatment. Funds raised support the TREO Foundation, which aims to bring public awareness to obesity as a disease, support critical treatment and prevention research, and improve access to quality care for patients who need it most.

Weight Loss Patients Share Success Stories

Three patients of Washington University bariatric surgeons spoke before the start of the walk, offering words of wisdom, support, and gratitude.

“Bariatric surgery is a tool,” said one patient. “This journey is a constant thing.”

Her journey began 18 years ago, when her primary care physician first suggested Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery to help her manage obesity. Fourteen years ago, she found herself under the care of Washington University bariatric surgeon J. Christopher Eagon, MD. While she had reservations and questions at first, Dr. Eagon helped assuage her concerns and stood by her side before, during, and long after her surgery. “He is a patient-centric physician, and I believe he is one of the kindest, most caring physicians I have ever met,” she said. “He has absolutely changed my life.”

Another patient, who underwent robotic gastric sleeve surgery under the care of Francesca Dimou, MD, MS, in 2020, spoke to how her surgeon alleviated her concerns and started her on her own journey. “That surgery changed my life,” she said. “Nothing but good has come from it.”

She discussed how, even when struggling between follow up appointments in the months after surgery, her doctor addressed her concerns with compassion and helped her work to find solutions. “Dr. Dimou understood exactly what I was going through and listened to me with great understanding. She told me I don’t have to be perfect. Slip-ups happen. I was so relieved to know I have a doctor who was not just concerned with my numbers, but concerned with me as a person,” she said. “My weight loss journey continues, and will be something I am always mindful of. But it keeps me fighting knowing I have an awesome surgeon and her team fighting with me as well.”

Another patient of Dr. Dimou – a year and a half out from a robotic gastric bypass procedure – shared her story and offered words of encouragement and advice. She too noted the importance of her surgeon’s compassion during the process and how reassured she felt that undergoing surgery was the best decision for her needs. “As individuals, we keep trying to figure it out on our own. When I went to WashU bariatric, my surgeon echoed what my primary care doctor advised and backed it by research, results, and, most importantly, compassion. From day one, I had no reservations that this was the right choice for me,” she said. “Now, I have no hypertension, no medications, my blood sugar is stable, I can walk, I can move, and I like myself.”

And her advice for others: “Take the help. If you’re here to walk away from obesity and into a whole new you, go talk to the team at WashU bariatric. Take the help.”

Washington University Leads in Supporting Weight Loss Therapy

Dr. Eagon and Shaina Eckhouse, MD, a bariatric surgeon at Washington University, were in attendance to walk beside their patients. They too took to the microphone to highlight the importance of research and correcting common misconceptions around the disease of obesity.

“This is a fight against prejudice and for better utilization,” said Dr. Eagon. “This is an exciting time in obesity therapy. Patients can attest to how life changing this therapy can be. We have much to look forward to in the future.”

This year, the St. Louis Walk from Obesity raised over $13,000 toward obesity education, research and awareness, making it one of the highest earning walks to date. Special thanks was awarded to the top organization and individual who earned the most donations in their name: Washington University Physicians – a proud gold-level local sponsor of the event – and our own Dr. Eagon.

“The money raised today is going toward vital research,” Dr. Eckhouse said. “We hope to better understand comprehensive care for obesity in adults and adolescents alike, and we’ve raised the most money compared to any other state. We are killing it!”

Learn More about Weight Loss Options

Treating obesity is a life-long and life-changing endeavor. Bariatric surgery can be a great tool to get started on your own journey and manage your weight long term. To learn more or to make an appointment with a Washington University bariatric surgeon, visit the link below.