January 29, 2020

By MARIANA C. MORALES

Losing weight can be expensive, especially if one needs to lose a certain amount to get surgery.

For 23-year-old Antonio Vargas of Kitchener, it has been a rough journey but he continues to lose weight with the support of his friends and family.

A fundraiser for Vargas was held at the Moose Lodge in Kitchener on Feb. 11, with proceeds helping him to continue to see a nutritionist and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, he has a problem with his hernia and was told in order to operate on it, he has to lose weight.

Throughout his life, it’s been a struggle to take pounds off but this time it was different, Vargas said. It started approximately nine months ago when his cousin wanted them both to look good for his upcoming wedding. Vargas began to work out by himself regularly and was noticed by trainer Serina Sousa.

“He was on the treadmill and walking at a slow pace. I monitored him for about two months making sure he was committed to working out before I approached him and said, ‘I’ll train you (for free) if you come into the club.’”

In the beginning of May last year, he weighed 585 pounds and with Sousa’s help, he has managed to lose around 175 pounds. He is very thankful and wants to get healthier. “I want to lose at least another 200 pounds. I want to be able to do things that are easy for everyone else to do,” he said.

The fundraiser was organized by his family and close friends. There was a $10 cover fee which included a chance to win a door prize. A local band called The Disguises played throughout the event while Chilean food was being sold. Several games such as coin tossing were played by guests with proceeds helping Vargas.

So far, he has been progressing well according to Sousa. “He’s just doing awesome. His breathing is better, his walking is better, his self-confidence; all that stuff has gone up.”

Although it is challenging to exercise while his hernia hurts, he continues to work hard and keeps his attitude positive.

“I was just approved for surgery last week,” he said, adding once his hernia is repaired he’s going to work out harder. “I give a lot (of thanks) to my trainer; she kicks my ass every day,” he said.