Chicagoland Brother and Sister Team Win $10,000 for Achieving Weight Loss Goals
Dr. Darrien Gaston’s SlimSmart Balloon helps shed 140 pounds.
Chicago - A brother and sister from Chicagoland, Jamie Bedolla and Christina Bedolla, have won the opportunity to be national Success Stories for the Orbera Weight Loss Procedure. The announcement came after an online contest held during February.
Dr. Darrien Gaston of Metropolitan Gastroenterology Consultants in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago recommended the brother-sister team after being notified of the contest by Apollo Endosurgery, the makers of Gaston’s SlimSmart Balloon. “Jamie and Christina have an incredible story and their weight loss has been remarkable with the SlimSmart Balloon,” said Gaston.
Both Jamie and Christina had struggled with weight issues their whole lives. Christina said, “I tried every diet out there. And every single time I stopped eating the diet, I gained the weight back. I’ve been on a roller coaster since I was a teen.”
In June of 2016, Gaston performed the SlimSmart procedure on Jamie. “It’s non-invasive and non-surgical, with no cutting, no stitches and no staples. The SlimSmart balloon is placed using an endoscope into the stomach and then filled with a sterile saline solution, to about the size of a grapefruit.” Because SlimSmart took up space in Jamie’s stomach, it was easy for him to control his portion sizes, the recognized key to losing weight and keeping it off.
“When Christina saw the success Jamie had in just two months, she came in for the procedure,” said Gaston. The SlimSmart Balloon stays in place for six months and is then removed via the same non-surgical procedure.
Assisted by regular visits to Dr. Gaston, information from a nutritionist and support from each other, the brother and sister team lost over 140 pounds in just six months, Jamie losing 73 lbs. and Christina losing 68 lbs. Both siblings have now had the Balloon removed and are successful in keeping the weight off.
Christina said, “I love the smaller me. I love shopping in the regular clothing departments now. No more plus sizes! I’m more active, which makes me feel even better. I love my confidence, I love myself and am more willing to put myself out there.”
When Gaston informed them about the contest, they both agreed it would be a fun thing to try. “We are very proud of our weight loss,” said Jamie. “We worked together and achieved very substantial results. Our story, that we’re siblings and we both used this procedure, is unique.”
Their names, weight loss achievement and story were posted on the Orbera website and the voting began.
“I shared it everywhere, everyday,” laughed Christina. “My Facebook friends are so glad the contest is over. It also helped that Dr. Gaston shared it on his social media pages.” Links to vote were posted on both the SlimSmart Balloon page and the Metropolitan Gastroenterology page.
Voting ended February 12th and the siblings were informed of their win on February 24th. Gaston was thrilled. “I am so happy for the both of them. They achieved substantial weight loss goals without surgery, and they won $10,000. How great is that!”
Along with the $10,000 prize, Apollo Endosurgery is flying Jamie and Christina to Austin, Texas in April. There, they will enjoy a free shopping trip, photography and infomercial shoot with Apollo Modeling Agency and other media opportunities.
Jamie is looking forward to the trip. “We have cousins out there who have been telling me to visit. I’ve never been to Austin before, so it will be nice to be in the warm weather, spending time with the family after all the events.” At the idea that he may become a national celebrity, he just chuckles, “Oh, I don’t know about that.”
“I just did this for me,” said Jamie. “I did not expect we’d win. I’m just happy to have lost so much weight and to feel so much better about my health and my life. Winning thousands of dollars is just icing on the cake.”