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Apr 28, 2011

600 pound man! Thyroid problem has him dying for help

Weighing close to six hundred pounds, Alberto Neal may very well be the heaviest man in Belize but it isn’t a title that the Santa Elena resident is celebrating; in fact, it is life-threatening. Up to a few years ago, the truck driver was living a normal life unaware of an underactive thyroid condition.  The thyroid slows down causing fewer hormones to circulate; the result being a slowing of body functions and weight gain as well as the inability to lose the weight despite diet and exercise. So tonight, Neal, who is unable to walk, says he needs the public’s assistance to get medical attention that may save his life. News Five’s Andrea Polanco went west and weighed in on Neal’s story.

Alberto Neal, Needs Immediate Surgery

“I’m asking the public to please help me to get out of this pain that I have because it’s real hard for me. It’s real hard that’s why I’m begging.”

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Alberto Neal

That is the plea of forty one year old Alberto Neal, living with a thyroid condition that is the cause of his obesity. A few years ago he peaked at almost eight hundred pounds but today he is down to almost six hundred pounds but his condition is worsening.   Neal, who is unable to walk and has no means of getting around, said that a day for him is a simple routine, one confined to his bed.

Alberto Neal

“Well the only thing I could- sit on my bed, turn and right yah cyaa guh nowhere.”

And while his bed has become a resting place for his many aches and pains, the long stay in bed has has also caused him great pains, like these bed sores and ulcers.

Alberto Neal

“Right now I’m gaining more weight because I can’t exercise. I only exercise on my bed and that’s not enough to lose weight.”

Yolanda De La Fuente

Andrea Polanco

“Describe to me what it’s like when you’re going through all the pain.”

Alberto Neal

“It’s not nice. The amount of pain that I have to cry and deh got me di have to be sitting down stretching my legs putting it anyway to bear the pain. My tail piece-my back, my bones and my arm- cause its broken right now.”

Yolanda De La Fuente, Wife

“Hmm it’s hard for him to be like this. It’s been three years being like that and I’ve been up and down to the hospital with many sleepless nights. Hard to see him suffering like that.”

But Neal’s complications of his massive weight includes high blood pressure.  He also struggles to breathe with an oxygen tank.  And though the tank  helps him to cling on to life, it is almost empty.

Alberto Neal

“It’s hard because I have to use my oxygen then I start get tired then I can’t breathe cause only I wouldn’t  talk a lot , it’s like squeezing my lungs or something yuh nuh.”

Andrea Polanco

“Suh how often do you use the oxygen tank?”

Alberto Neal

“Well right now like when I go sleep like for lie down and sleep I have to use it. Yea. Right now my oxygen is low so I can’t sleep I can’t lie down I have to be sitting down.”

Chyna Smith

Chyna Smith, Assisting Mr. Neal

“What happen is that we need to send full the oxygen tank and right now he has very little left and like I said if you don’t have money you don’t have anything. He has very little oxygen left for him to breathe at night and like how its hot he suffers at night.”

The biggest need is for a hip surgery. Neal broke his hip in accident shortly before his weight gain.

Alberto Neal

“They tell me that if I go around and get the em the surgery on my hip that they will em drill my hip and I could be able to walk again. But I wil stay like cripple still but I’ll be able to walk. I need help because I can’t do it myself. I can’t walk I can’t work and if I go around asking for help deh nuh wah give me job cause I can’t work.  Hmm mien it’s hard, it’s real hard because when I don’t have I have to beg. Yuh s idem some ah dem bring me something. This guy bring provide lee food for the house and that’s what we do. My daughter won’t go to school because I don’t have no money to pay the school.”

It’s also an emotional torture for this family, because as Chyna Smith who volunteered her services to the family will tell you, it’s a daily struggle.

Chyna Smith

“Well taking care of Mr. Neal, umm, we go through a lot of lifting and we try our very best. Sometimes it’s only me and his wife and sometimes the little girl chip in because she have to stay home to help her father. We have to turn him like I said every two hours and do his dressing two times daily. He has distressed breathing, he complains about a lot of cramps. We’re asking for help if you have money or anything else to contribute to Mr. Neal pertaining to his surgery he really needs financial assistance because what’s happening right now dah the financial assistance he need to keep up his diet and right no he doesn’t have anything. He doesn’t know what will be his afternoon meal because he has nothing, nothing at all.”

And today, one of the first donations to the family was made to the family on behalf of the King Jesus Ministries who also called on other churches do their part.

Pastor Richard Woolley, King Jesus Ministries

Richard Woolley

“There are churches throughout all of Belize a lot of churches that have connections not only to God but to people in the United States. And the Bible says in Matthew 25, it teaches us that we’re supposed to be doing things like this. We donated a walker, medical supplies, some shirts, antibiotics and a hundred of beans. I make a call to the churches especially in Belmopan. They are always on TV so let’s do something of you can’t help with finances you can help with things.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

If you’d like to assist Alberto Neal you can make a deposit to Belize Bank account number 10802. You can also call 627-9110 or 668-6772.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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8 Responses for “600 pound man! Thyroid problem has him dying for help”

  1. Gustav says:

    Regardless of his thyroid, he is still eating a lot more calories than he is burning, and that is on him.

    He might need money to see a doctor, but it doesn’t cost him anything to eat less calories.

    Charity begins at home!

  2. BZNinCALI says:

    Sad, I wish him well but I’m going to ask the question that crossed some of our minds when we saw the picture with the boxes. Was that packaged diet food to help get him down to a weight where he can be operated on or was that the grease too many keep buying that is making our people fat?

  3. daveyt says:

    He needs to eat more vegetables – steamed or raw, never fried. Many thyroid problems are caused by low levels or a lack of Iodine in the diet. Iodine is found naturally in vegetables. I include Tomatoes in that, even though tomatoes are technically classed as a fruit.

    Grilled chicken or fish for protien, and lots of vegetables & salads (No oily dressings), washed down with litres of water to help flush the body out and keep the kidneys clear. Skimmed milk, low fat yoghurt and stay away from cheese, butter & margarine.

    Instead of eating 3 large meals a day, eat often, but small portions to give the digestive system time to process the food properly. Drink a couple of glasses of water before a meal too, to ‘fill’ the stomach a little before eating, and chew the food properly – all will help in quelling hunger pangs.

    That would be a start, but it would be down to him to be disciplined enough not to eat fried food or junk food ‘snacks’ in between meals.

    With that said, I wish him good luck, and not wanting to be a hypocrate, will even try my own advice, as I could do with shedding more than a few pounds myself! (‘Friendhips’ won’t be seeing me for a while – I hope they don’t go bankrupt).

  4. Dr I. Ray says:

    He is overweight because he consumes more calories that he is burning, not because of thyroid disease. thyroid supplements cost 5 centts a day. it is sad and he needs help for his food addiction, but like any other addict he has to acknowledge he has an eating problem and stop blaming everything else. no surgeon in their right mind will operate a hip in this condition. he is young he needs a nutritionist to advise him what and how much to eat, a physical therapist for him to start excersing( right in the bed) as he loses weight he wont need breathing assistance, he has sleep obstuctive apnea and what he needs is a CPAP machine giving him oxygen is bad for him.

  5. Lee Dacta says:

    he has Pickwickian Syndrome.

  6. Roy Yates says:

    Lest than one week ago there was a very interested information on yahoo about the proven result from cosuming African Mango to reduce and control weight. The report also claim that there are many fake African Mango on the market since its known that the real one is effective. According to the report it will make a person loose weight without the need to .exercise.

  7. ang says:

    he can’t afford other food suggested like fruits and vegies for now unless helped financially, and his thyroid problem seems chronic he would need intense treatment probably for the rest of his life what he can do for now is sing, breathing exercises and play the flute or mouth organ to retrain his lungs to keep oxygen in his lungs going, not take sleep inhibitors of any kind or sedatives that would aggravate his sleep apnea that will help him gradually burn more calories and get him back on his feet then when his bones fix or not he has to find a way to get his limbs constantly moving moving moving if the churches chip in and help him out with this his body stands a chance to kick back in and repair itself.

  8. tim says:

    he used to be at 800 and got to 600..he can do it.. he just need to be determined, can someone print all these suggestion commented here and pass it on to him?? there are some really good ones here but someone has to start.. with a little prayer, family support, am sure he can make it out! good luck..

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