Mullens man

Teddy McCall, left, shown with Barbara Canterbury, group leader at Weight Watchers, lost 110 pounds with the help of Beckley Health Right (BHR) and Weight Watchers. McCall is just a few pounds away from his goal of losing 120 pounds.

Teddy McCall has lost 110 pounds with the help of Beckley Health Right (BHR) and Weight Watchers.

McCall, 59, of Mullens, started going to the BHR clinic three years ago and joined its Weight Watchers program last January.

McCall said the doctors and nurses at the clinic advised that he try to lose weight. He kept putting it off until he saw a picture of himself that his niece took.

“I was sitting on the couch with a plate of food in my hand, and I was as big as a cow. That’s when I decided to start.”

He said the hardest part was the first week, but once he got used to the routine, he stuck with the program.

A little over 10 months later, McCall has lost 110 pounds.

“I feel better about myself,” he said. “I get around better. I breathe better; my health is better.”

He says everyone at the clinic was extremely supportive and encouraging, especially his nurse, who is enrolled in the program herself.

McCall is just a few pounds away from his goal of losing 120 pounds.

“It’s all in your mind,” he said. “You have to get your mind set not to eat the food. Stick to what you can eat. It’s a healthy way of losing weight.”

For those trying to lose weight, McCall offers this advice, “If you cheat, you’re only cheating yourself. If you cheat, you won’t lose.”

Barbara Canterbury, group leader at Weight Watchers for 11 years, says McCall’s weight loss is the most she’s seen since she has been a part of the program.

“It’s breathtaking,” Canterbury said. “You get chill bumps when you see someone go from not smiling and can barely walk to someone who’s smiling from ear to ear and can walk around his neighborhood. That’s why we do it.”

Canterbury says he has been such a success, she would like for him to become a group leader. She said she believes he could answer some of the questions men face while trying to lose weight. McCall has been receptive to the idea.

The Weight Watchers program currently has 10 members at BHR, but new enrollment begins Jan. 9.

BHR Administrator Jeff Graham says, “Success stories like Teddy’s are what we aim for. We’re here to touch lives, and Teddy is a great example of that.”

Beckley Health Right is a nonprofit, free clinic for uninsured, low-income adults in southern West Virginia. It has been in Beckley for 12 years and currently serves 2,500 patients.

Proof of income and photo identification must be provided in order to apply to become a patient.

Through a network of local support, they offer a variety of services, such as primary care, laboratory analysis, diagnostic testing, health education, specialist referrals, dental referrals and prescription medications.

“We do not charge our patients for anything,” Graham said. “They do, however, have the opportunity to give back to the clinic every time they’re here.”

Donations are greatly appreciated, but they are not mandatory.

“It’s a way of helping our patients feel like they’re contributing here,” Graham said.

In 2011, approximately $5.5 million in care was provided to patients. This total comes from donations from the Beckley Area Foundation, cash donations from local churches, individuals and businesses, a state grant for uncompensated care clinics and service donations from local hospitals.

Raleigh General Hospital donated laboratory analysis and Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital donated diagnostic testing services, as well as the use of its clinical building.

As BHR expands, Graham says, “We need more community support to help us as we move forward and continue to help the folks that need it.”

BHR is located at 111 Randolph Ave. For more information, call 304-253-3577.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com

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