Stanley Hollar of Indiana was so overweight in early 2015 that despairing doctors were seriously concerned for his health. The medical profession had him marked down for an early death. In fact, the appalling prognosis was that Hollar would not see his next birthday. Having already lost a leg due to obesity-related issues 20 years prior while still in college, Hollar did not want to lose his life into the bargain. So the morbidly obese man decided to do something drastic. Three years on and Hollar is a totally changed individual.
Hollar is a 42-year-old relief teacher from the rural city of Rushville, IN, some 50 miles away from Indianapolis. Unfortunately, however, Hollar has not had much to shout about in his life so far. And most of the educator’s problems have stemmed from one thing – his weight. Indeed, Hollar has struggled to keep his size under control ever since he was very young.
Even when he was just five years old, Hollar tipped the kindergarten scales at almost 100 pounds. This was at the top end of what an average boy twice his age could have expected to weigh. Hollar’s weight continued to snowball all the way until he started college. Nonetheless, at the age of 20, he was part of an indoor soccer team in his sophomore year, having found a position he particularly enjoyed – goalkeeper.
But it was during one of his college games in 1996 that something serious went wrong for Hollar. As a ball from the opposing team fast approached the goal, he went to block it with his leg. And that is when Hollar threw his knee out. The overweight student actually managed to dislocate the joint in the goal-saving move.
However, when Hollar presented himself at the E.R., doctors told him that it was probably just a sprain. Indeed, nothing had shown up on precautionary X-rays, and Hollar was simply too big for the M.R.I. machine. Sadly, this meant that the severity of his injuries –the knee dislocation, attendant ligament damage and a severed artery – was missed.
Physical therapy was next for Hollar, but he found that he was in too much pain to continue with it, so headed back to the E.R. It was only then that doctors understood how bad Hollar’s original injury was. Unfortunately, the college student was told that his leg needed to be amputated.
“As you can imagine, it was devastating,” Hollar told People magazine in February 2018. “I really thought my life was ending. But like my weight, I got used to it and kept on keeping on.” After the amputation, Hollar could only walk with the help of an uncomfortable prosthetic leg.
Ever since his leg had been amputated in 1996, Hollar really struggled to exercise. He couldn’t even walk a mile without getting exhausted. Inevitably, he relied on his wheelchair to get around. Over the course of the next decade, the weight just kept on piling on.
Then Hollar finally hit breaking point in 2015. He was suffering from all sorts of medical problems as a result of his weight. He was only 39 years old, but doctors were so concerned about his health that they warned him that he might not live to see his 40th birthday.
That’s when reality kicked in for Hollar. He told People how the doctor’s words gave him a “firm kick in the pants,” After that, he knew he had to do something about his size. And what he did next totally changed his life for the better.
Within a year, Hollar had lost an incredible 250 pounds. He was able to shed such a lot of weight through diuretics treatment, which saw doctors get rid of extra fluid and water inside his body. On top of that, Hollar had started doing a little bit of exercise to help shift more weight.
But he wasn’t going to stop there. After losing the first 250 pounds, Hollar went on to shed even more. First, he had bariatric surgery, which helped him lose a lot of weight. At the same time, Hollar stepped up his exercise regime to bring the number on the scales even further down.
It turns out that when he was almost 500 pounds lighter, Hollar had reached the same weight as he was in fifth grade. Although it was a dramatic amount of weight to shed, it didn’t all happen at once. “The weight loss I accomplished was in stages,” Hollar told People.
“You start small and build. You go a little farther or you do a little more each day. Before long, you won‘t recognize the new you. The key is to just start,” continued Hollar. However, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing since he transformed himself.
Because of the sheer amount of weight he lost, Hollar encountered new issues. His prosthetic leg no longer fit him properly, so he needed to get a replacement. However, he needed to have his leftover skin – a byproduct of the weight loss – removed before he could be fixed up with a new limb.
But the problem was that the surgery would be expensive. “The skin removal surgeries are considered cosmetic, which is not covered by insurance,” Hollar explained to People. But he knew it would take too long for him to save up the cash himself.
But then a friend of his came up with a plan. The pal started a website and a fundraising page, designed to gather the money to pay for the skin removal surgery. To date, the account has raised in excess of $10,000 – enough for one operation, which is planned for summer 2018.
“For my new leg to fit properly it needs to be skin tight, which is just not possible at the moment,” he explained to U.K. tabloid the Daily Mail. But Hollar hopes that he can raise enough cash to pay for a second operation in 2019, which should put him in a position to get a new leg.
What happens next in Hollar’s life remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt that his quality of life has greatly improved since he lost an incredible 488 pounds. “I feel so much better about my body now, but it is still in a state of change. I’ve come a long way in a short period of time,” he said to the Daily Mail.
“God willing, I still have a very long life ahead of me,” Hollar hopes. After all, he now eats fruit and veg instead of takeaways, and he does some exercise every day. There’s no doubt that his weight loss journey has been impressive to say the least, but there’s still one more hurdle left to go – getting the all-important new leg.