Many patients have benefitted from weight loss surgery. Read their stories.

Janell Lauria
"I cannot believe where I was before and where I am now."

Elaine Baer
"Nothing tastes better than thin."

Ellen Benson
"I feel like I got my life back again." 

Michael Burns
"The (weight management) team are phenomenal and with you every step of the way."

Mary Kazis
"I just feel so much better." 

Megan McDonough
"It's nice to feel like myself again. The Center gave me my life back." 

Rhonda Rocco-Campbell
"The body I was in wasn't me." 


There is no guarantee of results. Results may vary.


Elaine Baer

A commercial on the radio was the first step toward changing Elaine Baer’s life. The Danvers resident heard an advertisement for the Hallmark Health System Center for Weight Management and Weight Loss Surgery and called to make an appointment. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I was thin my whole life until I had kids,” said Baer, 55. “Once the kids came around the pounds did as well.”

Baer’s weight gain took a toll on all aspects of her life. She couldn’t roll over in bed without getting out of breath, her marriage was failing and she felt awful about herself all the time. In essence, being overweight was ruining Baer’s life.

“That was just so not me,” she said. “I was so disgusted with myself and ashamed I let it get that bad.”

Baer attended one of the Center’s information sessions and met its director, Andras Sandor, MD. She made an appointment with him and after discussing her options, decided to go forward with laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery.

It’s been almost two years and Baer’s life has completely changed. She has lost approximately 100 pounds and has a ton of energy. And Baer credits the Center for all of her success.

“I cannot say enough about Dr. Sandor and his staff,” she said. “They changed my life.”

Baer no longer has food cravings and her eating habits have completely changed. She is happy with the progress she’s made and will use the tools the Center gave her to maintain a healthy weight.  

“Nothing tastes better than thin,” said Baer. “I never want to go back.” 

There is no guarantee of results. Results may vary.

Ellen Benson

Saugus resident Ellen Benson has struggled with her weight for more than 20 years. She went on crash diets and would lose weight only to gain it back. It was a roller coaster ride that left Benson disgusted and angry until a few years ago when she made the decision that changed her life.

For Benson, 48, this life changing choice was scheduling an appointment with Andras Sandor, MD, director of the Hallmark Health Center for Weight Management and Weight Loss Surgery. Her surgery was done this past January and since then she has lost approximately 75 pounds.

“I feel like I got my life back again,” said Benson. “Having surgery with Dr. Sandor is the best thing I could have done. I have so much energy now and it’s from my surgery, eating good, healthy food and exercising.”

Benson cannot believe how the quality of her life has changed since the surgery. She now runs two to three miles several days a week and takes her dogs for long walks on the days she doesn’t run. The surgery also cured Benson’s sleep apnea and the many aches and pains that plagued her for so long.

Benson, who credits Dr. Sandor with a lot of her success, said throughout the whole process he made her feel like she was his only patient, always took the time to answer all of her questions and address any concerns she had and even visited her in the hospital during a snowstorm.

“Dr. Sandor treats his patients like family,” she said. “I encourage anyone that is considering this surgery to schedule an appointment at Hallmark Health’s Center. Dr. Sandor is amazing.”

There is no guarantee of results. Results may vary.

Michael Burns

"I’m a big guy and I have had weight problems most of my life. I always tried to take care of myself. I served in the Army National Guard and learned the importance of staying fit. Over the years, when I realized I was getting heavy, I’d get serious, go on a diet, workout at the gym, eat healthier foods to lose weight and take care of myself. But after a while I would slip back to my old ways.

It became clear that dieting wasn’t working anymore. I was getting to be well above 300 pounds and developing serious health issues like high blood pressure and slipped discs in my back. It got to the point where my wife had to help me put my boots on in the morning so I could go to work. I knew I had to do something.

I investigated surgical options. I checked around the area to see what was available and finally attended a weight-loss information session for the Center for Weight Management and Weight Loss Surgery at Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford.  I liked how I was treated there. They listened, answered my questions and I felt a good connection with the program. I was also very impressed with Andras Sandor, MD, the director of the program.

I tried dieting one last time, but when that was not successful Dr. Sandor and I talked about sleeve gastrectomy surgery as the best solution. I had the surgery in March 2012. The day after the surgery, I was up and walking around in my hospital room. I asked the medical team to take me off the pain medications since I was not feeling any discomfort. When I went home, I followed a liquid diet that reduced the number of calories I was taking in and then eventually switched to solid, healthy foods.

Now a year later, I am maintaining the weight loss and holding steady at 195 pounds. Hunger cravings are gone. I follow the diet, eat healthy foods religiously and get regular exercise. Since the surgery, keeping the weight off isn’t hard at all. There are other advantages to losing the weight. I no longer take blood pressure or pain medications. Sleep apnea is gone and the two slipped discs I developed are non-existent now. I am even training and hoping to fulfill a dream I’ve had for years to run in the Boston Marathon.

I am glad I found the Center and Dr. Sandor. I believe I had an easy time with the surgery because of the great skill and experience of the entire team that cared for me. They are phenomenal and are with you every step of the way."

There is no guarantee of results. Results may vary.

Mary Kazis

Being overweight is something Methuen resident Mary Kazis has struggled with her entire life. She tried every program and fad diet she could find, but they never worked for her. One way or another Kazis was always able to keep it from getting out of control – that is until she had her son. After that she felt like she was gaining 10 pounds a year.

“My weight was getting so out of control,” said Kazis, 34. “I used to like to get dressed up, put on makeup and go out. At that point I just wanted to stay in the house. I didn’t want people to see me.”

The turning point came when Kazis and her husband, Peter took their son Nico, now 3, to Storyland in New Hampshire. She took her son on a ride, but had a hard time fitting in the space.

“I thought to myself ‘I can’t even take him on these rides,’” Kazis recalled. “That was a huge red flag to me.”

Kazis attended an information seminar at the Hallmark Health System Center for Weight Management and Weight Loss Surgery and met with Andras Sandor, MD and was immediately impressed with the staff’s level of professionalism and knowledge.

It has been a year since Kazis had gastric bypass surgery with Dr. Sandor and she has lost 95 pounds. She recently ran a 5K, something she never thought she would be able to do, and goes to the gym regularly. Kazis has also had to change the way she eats and keeps track of all of her meals and snacks to make sure she stays on track.

“It’s the best decision I’ve ever made other than having my son,” she said. “I feel like I glow. I just feel so much better.”

Kazis had a lot of fears and anxiety about undergoing surgery, and assumes most people in her position feel the same way. She said in the end it was the best thing for her and her family and couldn’t be happier.

“Surgery is scary, but your health is scarier,” said Kazis. “This day and age you need to be on top of your health.”

There is no guarantee of results. Results may vary.

Janell Lauria

What a difference a year makes.

Janell Lauria recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of her weight-loss surgery. She took the day off and spent time with her mother in Boston, looking back over her journey and marveling at how far she has come. One year and 100 pounds later, Lauria is looking and feeling better than ever.

WeightLossPtTestimonial Lauria 325

Lauria, 28, always struggled with her weight. The ups and downs really took a toll on her self-esteem, and eventually she found herself depressed.

“Weight Watchers, Atkins, SlimFast. You name it, I tried it,” said Lauria. “If I ate salad I would gain weight. Nothing worked.”

The turning point came at Lauria’s physical when she recorded her highest weight yet. Her doctor explained that she was on track to be 300 pounds by the time she was age 30.

“Being that weight really scared me,” said Lauria. “It was then and there that I started looking more seriously at surgery and decided I needed to change my life.”

Lauria called the Hallmark Health Center for Weight Management and Weight-Loss Surgery, and for six months, she worked with the center’s team to prepare for sleeve gastrectomy surgery with Jennifer Lane, MD.

“I cannot believe where I was before and where I am now,” said Lauria. “My whole mindset has changed.”

Lauria now exercises several times a week, taking Zumba, barre and belly dancing classes as well as running. Her goal is to work up to running a 5K.

Lauria is also enjoying buying new clothes for her slimmer build and says she has the credit card bills to prove it! She has more confidence and has started dating – something she has never done before.

“I feel so much better emotionally and physically,” said Lauria. “I wore a bikini for the first time in my life last summer. It was amazing!”

Lauria is thankful for the support she received and continues to receive from Hallmark Health. She attends the center’s monthly support group and is active on social media, too.

“Everyone is really great and supportive,” said Lauria. “This program, compared to others, really prepares you for what’s going to happen. It was all done the right way.”

There is no guarantee of results. Results may vary.

Megan McDonough

When Stoneham resident Megan McDonough put on almost 100 pounds in a year it took a toll on her. She lost herself – her personality and confidence just faded away. Six months after gastric bypass surgery at the Hallmark Health System Center for Weight Management and Weight Loss Surgery McDonough is back and thankful to the team for her success.

“It’s still shocking,” McDonough, 32, said of her weight loss. “I have so much more energy. If it wasn’t for the Center’s team I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t be this happy.”

McDonough was against surgery at first, saying it seemed “extreme.” Still, she went to the Center’s information session and researched several other hospitals in the area. One day McDonough opened up her local newspaper and saw an article on Jennifer Lane, MD, one of the Center’s surgeons. She took it as a sign and decided to set up an appointment.

“The entire staff was extremely warm and welcoming and there was no judgment,” said McDonough. “Lawrence Memorial Hospital was the only hospital I felt comfortable with.”

Since surgery, McDonough’s life has changed quite a bit. She has lost 100 pounds, has started dating again and is also hoping to run a 5K next year in honor of the one year anniversary of her surgery. McDonough said most importantly she is happy and confident again, something she lost with her weight again.

“Everyone says my personality is back to how it used to be,” she said. “It is nice to feel like myself again. The Center gave me my life back.”

There is no guarantee of results. Results may vary.

Rhonda Rocco-Campbell

Rhonda Rocco-Campbell, originally from Everett now residing in Bradford, never struggled with her weight until she had her second child. Like many women, she had trouble losing the pregnancy weight. Campbell dealt with the weight gain for years, often feeling frustrated and upset she let herself get to this point. That was until she ran into a family friend at a cookout, who recommended the Hallmark Health System Center for Weight Management and Weight Loss Surgery.

Campbell, 46, did some research and attended one of the Center’s information sessions at Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford where she met Andras Sandor, MD, the Center’s director. She was immediately taken with how nice and down to Earth he was and made an appointment to explore her options. Tests showed that Campbell, like many bariatric surgery patients, had high blood pressure and cholesterol as well as a mild case of sleep apnea. That was the deciding factor for her, she was having the surgery.

Campbell was afraid at first to tell people that she’d had surgery. She feared people would judge her, thinking she took the easy way by undergoing surgery instead of dieting and exercising.

Despite her feelings, Campbell knew she had made the right choice.

“I’ve been on Weight Watchers and I’ve been on Jenny Craig,” she said. “You name it I’ve done it, but nothing worked.”

It’s been almost a year since Campbell’s surgery and she looks and feels great! She has lost more than 80 pounds and was happy to report that Dr. Sandor didn’t recognize her at her last appointment. 

Campbell said having surgery was the best thing she ever did.

“I’m really happy and I just love life now,” she said. “I knew the body I was in wasn’t me. I owe everything to Dr. Sandor for giving me my life back!"

There is no guarantee of results. Results may vary.


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   Patient Testimonials 

   There is no guarantee of results.    
    Results may vary. 



Free information session provides all you need to know about weight-loss surgery. Sessions are held alternative months at Lawrence Memorial Hospital (LMH) and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital (MWH).

RegisterOnline 2 180

 June 14    July 12
 August 9    September 13
 October 11    November 8
CANCELED       December 13

Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Medford
Johnson Conference Room
6 p.m.
Call 781-306-6166

Melrose-Wakefield Hospital
Perkins Lecture Hall
6 p.m.
Call 781-306-6166

More helpful information below

Simply click "Support Group Assistant" for details on available support groups.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Medford
Gallagher Conference Room

February 6        6:00 pm
March 6            6:00 pm
April 17            12 noon
May 15             12 noon
June 12             6:00 pm
September 11   6:00 pm
October 9         12 noon
November 13    12 noon






There is no guarantee of results. Results may vary.