A WOMAN who lost almost 14 stone despite being frequently left bedbound by debilitating illnesses is fundraising £31,000 for skin removal surgery

Jess Gould made the decision to fundraise for the surgery after developing body dysmorphia and mobility issues from excess skin left after the weight loss.

She said: "Even though I have achieved so much, I look in the mirror and still see myself as overweight because of the excess skin.

"People around me have been trying to get me to start this fundraiser for about a year but I feel so guilty because it feels like I haven't earned it.

"I finally launched it on Saturday 22 January after being told by the NHS that I am unlikely to receive any funding as it is deemed as a cosmetic procedure, so I want to combine whatever is raised with my own savings to get this surgery."

Despite the £31,000 donation goal, in reality, the surgery is likely to cost far more.

Jess said: "The surgery will cost significantly more but I want to try and raise some of the money towards it myself.

"I feel bad enough resulting to this but I am thankful to anyone who is able to contribute."

Jess' diagnoses include fibromyalgia – a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body – myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, non-epileptic seizures, polycystic ovaries, an underactive thyroid, depression and anxiety.

She has also recently been diagnosed with alopecia areata or hair loss.

She said: "The alopecia has been due to the stress of what I am going through.

"Combine this with the excess skin that I have to deal with every day and my confidence is at rock bottom."

Jess, from Bredon, used to weigh 24 stone before her weight loss, which she attributes to exercising using a sofa cycle and changing her eating habits.

She said: "At the time I was offered bariatric surgery on the NHS but I wanted to do it myself.

"It took me just over two years to lose the weight.

"I look back on my achievements and think it is not bad for someone who is bed-bound half the time."

To read Jess' full story on her weight loss visit here, and to donate to jess' fundraiser, visit here.