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Mercy Hospital Offering Weight Loss Surgery Contest

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mercy Hospital & Medical Center has launched a contest with an unusual prize: free lap-band weight loss surgery.

"Just write us and tell us why do you think you need this," said Dr. Rami Lutfi, director of Mercy's lap-band program.

Hospital Offers Weight Loss Surgery Contest

Lutfi said the surgery has been successful for many patients struggling with obesity.

"We do not divide or cut the stomach. We place simply a band around the top of the stomach to slow down the food going through, and limit the amount that patients would want to eat."

The operation is less invasive than gastric bypass surgery, and is reversible.

Since surgery alone isn't enough to alter lifestyles, Lutfi said the prize will include a one-year gym membership and follow-up care.

Those interested can submit a photo and an essay of no more than 500 words, explaining why they deserve the operation. The deadline to enter is July 31.

You can find out more on Mercy Hospital's Facebook page or at their website.

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