An NHS worker has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for a breast reduction, as the weight of their size 36M chest causes back pain so severe they black out.
Bob Leak, who is non-binary and lives in Liverpool, has been diagnosed with degenerative scoliosis, which means the spine twists to one side of the back.
Despite the pain and the toll both this and unwanted sexual attention has had on their mental health, Bob, 25, has been unable to get a reduction on the NHS.
They tell Metro.co.uk: ‘The first time I had a severe back problem I was 19. It was six years ago.
‘I had to call someone to pick me up from work. I could only move around by pulling myself along walls with my arms.
‘At the time everyone assumed it was some kind of one off injury, although I hadn’t done anything I didn’t do every day, so how I’d injured myself was a mystery. I had issues from then on.
‘After a lot of doctors appointments and one hospital trip, I had physiotherapy where I was diagnosed with degenerative scoliosis.
‘Essentially, the weight of my chest and how disproportionate it is to the rest of my body has caused my spine to curve. The condition is only going to get worse with time.’
The pain this causes is debilitating.
‘The worst period of back pain I had began with me stuck laying on the floor of a bedroom for four hours before I let my then-partner call for help,’ Bob tells us.
‘It took the ambulance people two hours to get me off the floor. I’ve blacked out the entire process because I was in so much pain.
‘The hospital gave me strong painkillers and once I was able to walk I was sent home and told to contact my doctor regarding a physio referral. This all happened in 2018.’
Bob finds the summer months particularly uncomfortable because of ‘painful sores’ they get under their breasts where they rub against their skin.
The Lancaster native has had to buy size 36L bras from a specialist seller in the past which has meant they’ve found it hard to build up savings and ‘function day to day’.
Bob, who works as a clerk for the NHS and as a freelance social media manager, says: ‘As my boobs are now too large to use retailers like Bravissimo, the financial burden of wearing a fitted bra to try and reduce strain on my back has had a negative effect on my mental health.’
They add: ‘In 2016, I was diagnosed with depression and a lot of the things I used to manage this are left impossible with my chest.
‘For example, one of my favourite forms of exercise is bouldering, but when my back flares up I physically can’t do it.
‘I don’t have pain-free days with my back anymore and managing pain everyday takes its toll. I often find myself exhausted and, because I’ve been denied this surgery so many times, it can leave me feeling helpless.’
Bob also cites unwanted attention aimed at their breasts as something that’s taken a toll on their mental health.
‘I’ve made YouTube videos since I was a teenager,’ they tell us. ‘I by no means have any particular following, but it’s an outlet I enjoy, although my chest has attracted a lot of unwanted attention.
‘My analytics show that the majority of my views come from a site called “titsintops” that’s just people leaving overly sexual comments about any videos with my chest in frame. Several of my videos have been reposted on porn sites despite them just being me performing poetry for example.
‘People find my channel through sites like this and my comments become an upsetting number of people leaving overly sexual commentary on videos constantly. I’ve had to close my DMs on most websites because of the unsavoury messages I was getting.
‘I once had someone try to send me a sexual message via my GoFundMe page, which was upsetting not least because they didn’t even donate first.’
Bob says they’ve been asking the NHS for a breast reduction procedure since 2015.
They say: ‘For almost five years I was repeatedly told my BMI was too high.
‘All of my excess weight is on my chest and every time I’ve asked for advice or exercises that will help me to lose some weight from my breasts I’ve been fobbed off.
‘At this point I’m doubtful there are any – despite Googling around there is no advice I can find about this.
‘After almost five years I abandoned all hope of getting a reduction on the NHS and set up my GoFundMe.’
If you want to help Bob out with the crowdfunding, you can do so via their GoFundMe page.
At the time of writing, £2,025 of their £6,000 goal has been raised.
The page reads: ‘My initial goal will cover the minimum deposit needed for my pre-surgery consultation, the surgery itself and all required aftercare. To raise the full cost for the treatment of £7,000 would be amazing, but just being able to reach this initial goal will go a long way in ensuring I receive a far better quality of life and feel infinitely more comfortable in my own skin.’
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