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Granting Wishes Once More

Obesity is one of America's greatest health problems. And as many people know, losing weight can be a frustrating, difficult battle.

So, when someone successfully loses 50 or 100 pounds, and keeps it off, it is a cause for celebration. But with the weight gone, more often than not, new struggles begin.

That is why The Early Show kicks off its special "Week of Wishes" series with a gift for someone who deserves a break.

Grabbing her tummy, Robin Kelly says, "Let's just get some scissors, there we are!"

She can joke about it now, but for 42-year-old Kelly, the skin that is left over from her 75-pound weight loss is a reminder of some serious stuff.

"It reminds me of how I let myself go," she says.

Once a fit, athletic woman, Kelly at age 40 weighed in at over 275 pounds.

The weight caused a series of health problems, from acid reflux to ruptured disks and a hernia, but it wasn't until her son's wedding that she realized something was seriously wrong

She says, "When the pictures came out and I looked at them, I am like, 'Oh, my, how embarrassed is he of me?' I went through a pretty good depression worried about how I was going to be able to handle this, how I was going to take care of it. And then I just got this voice just telling me, you've got to get up."

And she did.

Along with her workout buddy Sharla Polke, who started out at 150 pounds overweight, Kelly now works out two to three hours a day.

She eats a healthy diet and seeks support and inspiration when she needs it.

Kelly says, "It's been hard. It takes a lot of motivation. It takes a lot to just get up and go and work out."

But now this woman, who, not too long ago, didn't have the energy to play with her dogs, says she has the stamina to run a marathon. She's never felt better, except for one thing.

She says, "When you gain a lot of weight your skin stretches. The muscles are here, but this is all skin."

Kelly is proud of what she has achieved, but for her, it is not enough

She says, "I want people to see me, see what I've accomplished. I see the transformation that has taken place and I see the residue that's being left over. I want the residue gone. I've worked so hard, but there's nothing I can do about this."

Kelly, who thought she was visiting The Early Show to do a segment about some of the side effects of drastic weight loss, was surprised when co-anchor Rene Syler read the following letter she had sent to the Week of Wishes:

"My name is Robin Kelly. My wish is huge to me but a small wish for you to grant. Last April 2002, I started eating better and working out and have lost 65 pounds so far. I weigh 215 now. As you know, when you lose weight, you have a lot of extra skin on your belly and under your neck. My wish is for a tummy tuck and a chin and neck reconstruction. But really the biggest part of my wish is just to come to New York. I have always wanted to see Times Square, Broadway, and a show. I pray, oh God, you will touch their hearts and grant my wish. Amen. Thank you, Robin Kelly."

When the letter was read aloud Monday, Kelly said, "Forgot about that. Forgot what I had actually said. When they called and said, 'Well, we can grant half of it and bring you to New York and you can tell your story.' But to get the whole wish, it's just a blessing. It's just a blessing."

So Syler introduced her to her surgeon, Dr. Z. Paul Lorenc. He explained, "Both a tummy tuck and a neck lift are real surgeries. Well over 100,000 cases each year of tummy tuck are performed in the states. But it's real surgery. What it involves is getting rid of the excess skin. It's an incision that is barely noticeable, done at a natural line. It's a great operation. It tightens your muscle, gets rid of the extra skin, but it is still surgery."

Kelly, who is deeply religious said, "I am so, so elated. Thank you, Jesus. Thank y'all."

And got ready for her consultation later that afternoon.