32-stone Norfolk woman lost half her body weight

Sam EmanuelA Norfolk woman who lost more than half her body weight after having traumatic gastric surgery has set up a new support group for other people who are overweight or are having similar surgery.Sam Emanuel

A Norfolk woman who lost almost half her body weight after having traumatic gastric surgery has set up a support group for other people who are overweight or are having similar surgery.

Laura Broome, 28, went from 32 stone to 17 stone after the operation, which she says changed her life, and she has now set up a website to help others having the same experiences.

The social housing worker, who moved to Diss from Hethersett two years ago, had the surgery in 2002 at St James's University Hospital in Leeds, which was the only hospital in the UK that did the operation at the time.

Since then, she has lost 15 stone, and has now set up a website - www.yourweightlossforum.co.uk - where people can get information and advice and either find a shoulder to cry on or someone to celebrate with.

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She said: "I was 32 stone, I was unhappy and very aware that my life was never going to be normal. But there was a glimmer of light at the end of my dark, lonely and very long tunnel, and that was the surgery I had been waiting five years for - a gastric bypass.

"I was desperate and I needed a reason to live, because back then the only thing that stopped me from suicide was my family, especially my brother who I knew it would leave lasting effects on forever. I never had any support from anyone who had been through it to help me, so I am creating a forum for anyone who has or is experiencing a similar scenario.

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"It is being set up to support anyone who is thinking of surgery or who has had it, and it will also have sections about bullying for anyone who is battling with weight.

"It will not be a medical site, but it will be me and hopefully many others who just want to help each other and let others realise that this is not something that should ever be faced alone. Life is full of ups and downs and although my family were incredible, sometimes all you need is someone who understands to share them with.

"I knew that this surgery was going to be risky and could have complications, it could even result in me losing my life. I am not ashamed to admit I was terrified."

Miss Broome, who now lives with her boyfriend in Viscount Close, Diss, said that after a traumatic recovery period, including a week in hospital and several months of only eating two or three teaspoonfuls of pur�ed food every few hours, her life has been transformed.

She added: "With every pound I lost, my confidence grew. Within nine months I had lost nearly half my body weight and I was loving it. I was out as many nights of the week I could afford and I was finally getting male attention!"

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