Bariatric Surgery Patient Gives Back to Future Patients   

Bariatric Surgery Patient Gives Back to Future Patients

 Rick Kolber captaining a boat out on the water.

Richard “Rick” Kolber already had a deep commitment to philanthropy and community stewardship when he decided to undergo bariatric surgery at Bayshore Medical Center. After he lost a tremendous amount of weight from the procedure—which also eradicated his severe obstructive sleep apnea—Rick, a trustee of Bayshore Medical Center Foundation since 2017, decided to give back once more.

In March 2023, Rick generously pledged $50,000 to the Center for Comprehensive Weight Loss at Bayshore, which performs about 250 bariatric surgeries each year and is designated a Bariatric Center of Excellence. It was the second such gift he made to the Center, funding vital programs to support the success of fellow bariatric patients who often face ongoing challenges to improve their health and lifestyle after surgery.

Bariatric surgery is often covered by medical insurance, but dietician-led support groups, and sometimes nutritional counseling, are not, says Marisa Medina, executive director of Bayshore Medical Center Foundation. “The infrastructure and support system beyond surgery helps patients be successful in the long term,” she says. “That’s why Rick’s gift has been so critical. Without the support of donors, these additional services might not exist.”

Rick is no stranger to the importance of supporting Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals. In addition to his service on the Bayshore Medical Center Foundation Board, Rick’s father is a past chairman of Riverview Medical Center Foundation. On top of that, his mother has been instrumental in funding women’s health initiatives.

“Rick understands that we’re a not-for-profit community hospital and that many services and programs would not be possible without donors,” Marisa says. “He’s been very intentional about how he chooses to support the hospital and other charities. We are grateful that he thinks carefully about the impact he wants to make and how his investment can help programs like this one.”

Rick hopes his support for the Center for Comprehensive Weight Loss prompts a chain reaction in people who undergo bariatric surgery to embrace a healthier future. “They can do better with their lives, and hopefully help other people do better with theirs,” he says. “If you could give the gift of health, you would. What you do with it, that’s up to you. But at least I can set the table so that someone else can take their health into their own hands again.” 

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