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Entire school helps overweight freshman

High School Rallies To Help 510 Pound Teen

One school in Indiana has rallied around a 510-pound teen in an effort to get him in healthy shape.

According to the Indy Star, early on in his freshman year, 14-year-old Eric Ekis broke a desk in his English class. While the thought of that happening to you might make you want to run and hide, it's impossible for Eric, who is 6-foot-4, to go unnoticed. Instead, it was a catalyst for a change.

His teacher Don Wettrick knew that Eric needed help, and when he reached out and learned that Eric's weight had ballooned after the death of his father, it broke his heart. Wettrick continually asked Eric if he'd work out before school. His persistence eventually paid off when Eric agreed. The English teacher enlisted the help of Kevin Stahl, a senior and a member of the high school swim team, to walk with Eric during first period.

In the months since, the number of people walking beside Eric has grown to more than a dozen students. As well as walking, the group has added yoga, basketball, and other physical activities to their routine.

Since starting in late September, Eric has lost ten pounds and gained a sense of self worth that everyone around him has noticed. He's also gained friends.

Eric is realistic and understands that he will have to walk a lot of miles before he can get back to a healthy weight, but in the meantime he hopes that he can inspire others.

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Pam February 24 2014 at 10:48 AM

What a great teacher for caring enough to urge him into healthy pursuits. And bless the kids who are helping him instead of bullying or tormenting him. Sounds like a wonderful group of people.

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enigma6211 February 24 2014 at 3:00 PM

you know? It's heart-warming that,for once,instead of ending up as yet ANOTHER target of abuse and bullying(and perhaps this young man taking his own life because of it),the other kids rallied around him and are encouarging him to take a healthy life style choice! Good for those kids,and YOU GO,ERIC!!! You can do it...and perhaps be a symbol and mentor for other kids also.God bless you,and God bless those kids!

Flag Reply +7 rate up
Heidi Ann February 24 2014 at 12:33 PM

My friend Diane's father died suddenly when she was twelve. She was watching cartoons, he was lying on the couch and he was dead of a heart attack. Her mother died when she was sixteen. She had cancer. Losing a parent is hard at any age but in the teenage years is horrible. Diane couldn't even face going to her mother's funeral and still mourns that loss to this day. I tell her sometimes that I'm proud of her and I can't help but think it should be her mother saying these things.

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Practical Nomad February 24 2014 at 12:44 PM

Keep up the good work Eric. Good job to all those helping Eric, and becoming his new friends. It's nice seeing stories such as this.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
squigleycfp February 24 2014 at 4:06 PM

If he's only lost 10 lbs since September then the next step is to talk to the people at his home. He's not eating air. Someone needs to intervene at the homelife. Guaranteed he has major medical issues already. Most likely the family has a weight problem that needs to be addressed. Hopefully someone will help all of them. He doesn't live in a vacuum. Towards the bullying comments - maybe the kids in his school will be a little slower to bully now that they've seen how hard it is. Even if you can't change everyone, each person who does change is worth it.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
Maria February 24 2014 at 1:47 PM

good for you Eric, and to the teacher and students who are by his side makes me happy to know kindness does exist!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
sdeannewyork February 24 2014 at 3:57 PM

It takes just one caring adult to inspire young people do the right thing. God bless all of these people who are helping Eric pull himself together.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
patgee316 February 24 2014 at 2:07 PM

Good going Eric and fellow students... Keep going, one step at time. If you trip...get up and go on.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
tompkinsgb February 24 2014 at 2:17 PM

Keep going, Eric!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
lirosner February 24 2014 at 2:22 PM

I commend the teacher and students who have reached to Eric. Way to GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
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