Jacksonville News

Photo by Member Mark Krancer, Kram Kran Photo

Photo by Member Mark Krancer, Kram Kran Photo


Date ArticleType
6/28/2023 4:00:00 AM Member News

HCA Florida Memorial Hospital invites you to a life-changing weight loss fashion show

22 bariatric models with more than 3,176 pounds lost!


JACKSONVILLE, FL (June 23, 2023) – HCA Florida Memorial Hospital Jacksonville invites you to its Bariatric Fashion Show featuring 22 models who have a combined weight loss of more than 3,176 pounds. Models will strut their transformed bodies with celebrity escorts that include former defensive lineman and Jaguars Ambassador, Paul Frase, former Pro Bowl kicker and Jaguars Ambassador, Mike Hollis, WJCT news reporter and former Times-Union reporter, Dan Scanlan, former US National Dance Sport Champion ballroom dancer, Vida Vongsay, local area surgeons and physicians. The event is emceed by Jacksonville Magazine’s owner and publisher, Joe White, and will be held on Thursday, June 29, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the hospital Auditorium (3625 University Boulevard South, Jacksonville, Florida 32216). Thank you to Dillard’s of Town Center for generously providing our models with a cocktail wardrobe, and to our model makeover make-up artists provided by Paul Mitchell. Light refreshments will be offered starting at 5:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public, especially for those who are seeking to be inspired to lose weight.


Five Bariatric Fashion Show models share a little about their physical transformation journey:


Antoinette Stokes lost 122 lbs.: “Life was miserable and depressing. I lacked confidence in myself and had low self-esteem. My health was suffering, and I wanted to be an active participant in my daughter’s life. Life has been amazing since having surgery! I compete in beauty pageants, have won multiple titles including Miss. Florida North America two years in a row, and is a brand ambassador for several companies."


Charles Linton lost 172 lbs.: "My life wasn't fun. I couldn't fly or visit amusement parks because I didn't fit in the seats. I dieted only to regain weight. All my clothes were from Big & Tall shops. I was dealing with pre-diabetes and depression. Surgery has changed my life. I feel amazing. Every day is an adventure - I am living it to the fullest."


Kevin Drawdy lost 320 lbs.: "I was extremely introverted, inactive, and avoided going places due to fear of embarrassing my family. I was in tremendous pain in my knees and hips and couldn’t tie my own shoes or do normal activities. I was on about 30 pills a day for multiple medical issues. I wanted to be around for my family. Since surgery, I am pain free and more active, plus I am off 99% of my medications. I enjoy outdoor activities like fishing and hunting, and love spending time with my biggest inspiration, my grandson!"


Myranda Watson lost 147 lbs.: "I was unable to keep up with my two boys. My bones and joints ached. Family is important to me, but my weight prevented me from being an active participant in our group activities. Life has transformed since my weight loss surgery. I am now full of energy and able to keep up with my boys."


Jessica Williams lost 301 lbs.: "I had so many health issues before my weight loss surgery. I was trapped in a cycle of eating, sleeping and working. I was tired of the inappropriate stares when I went out in public. In 2018, I was hospitalized. My weight was causing many of my health problems. Life has changed dramatically since my weight loss procedure. I'm healthy, confident and engaged. I am blessed!"


“We are extremely proud of our bariatric patients, they inspire us to keep fighting for them. Their accomplishments took a lot of hard work, focus and determination. We are very excited to join in celebrating their achievements,” said Husain Abbas, MD, bariatric surgeon and Medical Director of the Weight Loss Surgery Center at Memorial Hospital (pictured on right). “We only give them a tool to help them kick-start their weight loss journey and gain their health back. Transforming their lives with new healthier eating habits combined with regular exercise are the other parts which each patient has to commit to in order to enjoy long-term results.”


Here are some of our highlighted people who will escort our models. 

Memorial Hospital’s bariatric program celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year, and sees approximately 400 bariatric patients annually.


The Weight Loss Surgery Center at HCA Florida Memorial Hospital

The Weight Loss Surgery Center helps individuals begin a journey towards a healthier life. It provides a multidisciplinary approach that includes various non-operative treatments. However, when necessary, Memorial’s surgeons provide the most technologically advanced surgeries to help people get back to doing the things they love most. Weight loss surgery is considered the most successful approach to rescuing patients from morbid obesity. Surgery can also prevent, and sometimes reverse, the development of diseases associated with obesity.


The Weight Loss Surgery Center at Memorial has extensive weight loss surgical experience having performed thousands of bariatric surgeries providing a wide spectrum of procedures including:

  • Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy
  • Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
  • Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS)
  • Revisional surgery for selected patients to further enhance their weight loss.

Memorial uses Enhanced Recovery Pathways (ERAS) combined with minimally invasive techniques to perform these procedures, including robotic platforms and laparoscopy. This translates into shorter hospital stays, less pain, faster recovery and return to work.



The Memorial Hospital Weight Loss Surgery Center is proud to be accredited by the highest accreditation possible in weight loss surgery - The Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). The Center was named a 2023 Top 101 Best Bariatric Surgery Center in the United States by Leapfrog and Money. The Center also proudly holds a number of significant recognitions and validations:

  • A Blue distinction center for bariatrics;
  • An Optum center of excellence for bariatrics;
  • An Aetna Institutes of Quality® Bariatric Surgery Facility;
  • A Cigna Center of excellence for bariatrics.

About HCA Florida Memorial Hospital – HCA Florida Memorial Hospital is part of Florida’s largest healthcare system, HCA Florida Healthcare, comprising of 49 hospitals, 77,000 employees and 11,000 physicians operating from more than 450 care sites. HCA Florida Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville is a full service, acute care, Level II Trauma hospital with 454 inpatient beds, three freestanding emergency rooms and a dedicated Women’s Center. Fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), HCA Florida Memorial Hospital is ranked as one of the top hospitals in the country for heart, lung and surgical care. It was named America’s 250 Best Hospitals 2023 by Healthgrades, putting it the top 5% nationwide for overall clinical performance, and named America’s 100 Best Orthopedic Surgery Hospitals 2023 also by Healthgrades. It also earned an A grade in patient safety from Leapfrog. For more information about us, visit: HCAFloridahealthcare.com.