An obese dad lost a whopping eight stone – so he could donate a kidney to save his son’s life.
Barry Stokes, 61, then 20 stone, was bluntly told by doctors he was “too fat” for an operation to give his sick son Alan, 32, a vital organ.
The determined dad-of-two went on a diet and exercise regime and slimmed down to 12st.
It means he can now be a donor to Alan, whose kidneys were damaged by bouts of chemotherapy to treat a rare cancer he suffered in his teenage years.
Businessman Barry, from Lostock Hall, Lancs., said: “I was classed as obese, off the scale in terms of my height and body size.
“We were told that the best matches would be family members and preferably the father.
“The doctor said even if I was compatible, they wouldn’t take my kidney because of my weight.
“Now I’m ready and waiting. If something had happened and I couldn’t help, I couldn’t have lived with that.”
Barry’s son Alan was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in his teenage years and was told he could only have months to live.
Now in his 30s, Alan is prospering and has recently completed a doctorate in artificial intelligence at the University of Manchester.
But bouts of chemotherapy to keep his illness at bay caused damage to his kidneys, bringing with it the prospect of him needing a replacement in the future.
Barry stepped up to be a donor without hesitation but doctors said Barry was too fat to undergo the surgery.
The businessman faced the challenge of losing around six to eight stone to reduce his body mass index to a level that would allow him to be a viable transplant option.
Barry has lost eight stone in the last year so that he can be a donor option for his son, with the help of Sarah Holden from independent weight management service A Better Life (ABL).
Through their support the dad-of-two lost the weight, and, crucially, kept it off.
“I used to be 12 stone but put on weight gradually over a long period of time through comfort eating because of stress,” he added.
“It got to the stage where I was out of breath walking up the stairs.
“The work that they do must save the NHS a fortune.
“Because of the condition I was in, I was putting myself at risk of diabetes, for example, that would have meant more care of a number of years.
“Both my wife and my daughter bought into it with me, it would have been difficult to do it on my own, they’ve benefited as well.”
The former salesman for the pharmaceutical industry, who now operates his own business, is keen to encourage more people to take up ABL’s couch to 5k scheme.
He says the free service has had an immeasurable impact on his life.
The programme run by ABL Health, in partnership with Lancashire County Council, offers free nutrition advice and exercise sessions.