2877770
Marrion Rogers at his Princes Town home yesterday.

Soyini Grey

“I didn’t eat myself to this. I am not a glutton.”

Marrion Rogers, 48, is fighting for his life.

He weighs over 600 pounds and is desperately trying to fund the gastric bypass surgery he believes will save his life. After a lifetime spent fighting his weight, he believes this is his last chance.

Before he lost the ability to walk unassisted, Rogers worked as a bouncer. It’s a job where his large size was an asset. Now he has to use a walker. He jokes that he has been training for life under the pandemic for a while since he rarely left home except to go to church. Now that churches are closed, he is stuck at home.

His wife Shantel Stephens-Roger kept a close watch throughout the interview. When he got emotional recounting his struggles with his weight, she teared up as well listening in from the kitchen.

“It is very emotional because I see him trying. I see him putting in the work and stuff like that. I just want the best for him,” she says.

Rogers says his battle began when he was 13, and required medical care. The doctors then commented on his weight, at 300 pounds but it never kept him back. He always played sports, including football, basketball and table tennis. Obesity runs in his family, but other than his weight, his health is good. He does not have diabetes.

In 2012, he developed a recurring abscess in his right leg which caused his blood pressure to spike. He only began treating it three months ago, and his blood pressure is improving.

He says he has been put in contact with a doctor who can perform his surgery.

However, financing it will be a struggle.

“I am a graphic designer, self-taught. I’m a chef, self-taught, so you find for the month I would throw like a barbeque, or I would do a chinee-que and try to raise some money or…and well now the graphic design isn’t making a lot of money, or any money at all,” he says.

Rogers needs to raise $150,000 which will cover both his pre-surgical screenings and the surgery itself.

He is thankful to his friends and family for their support.

His wife says, “I see how he fights. And whenever he gets up, my heart starts to pound. I want to make sure that nothing is in his way, anything like that.”

He says the Social Development Minister Donna Cox reached out twice to help him. When Guardian Media contacted the minister, she confirmed this, but said that she contacted him in her personal capacity, and is doing what she can to assist.

The GoFundMe account can be accessed at – gofundme.com/f/medical-expenses-for-gastric-bypass-surgery. It has only raised US$330 of the US$12,000 so far.

Anyone wishing to help can also contact Marrion Rogers directly by calling 324-4452.