A mum-of-two with size H breasts is crowdfunding for reduction surgery after being refused an operation on the NHS.
Kelly Michaud, 26, is hoping to raise £6,000 to put towards the surgery after years of suffering from acute back ache and pains all over her body caused by her breasts.
The 5ft 2in mum, who weighs 10stone, has spent more than £200 on extra-supportive bras, but says she still suffers significant damage to her physical health and wellbeing.
Kelly says repeated requests from her GP to the Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for breast reduction surgery have repeatedly been denied.
Kelly said: “I went to my GP quite a few times and he was really good with me. He read out the requirements on the NHS website for getting breast reduction surgery and what I needed to do to get it.
“I lost about two stone, was referred to a physio and went to the gym.
“I tried everything just to show that I was taking steps to try and help the situation myself, but it still wasn’t enough.”
Despite losing weight and exercising regularly, Kelly continued to suffer.
Where some weight was lost in her breasts, heavy excess skin drooped down, causing more physical aches and pain.
Subsequent requests from both Kelly and her GP for surgery were denied by the CCG.
Kelly considered going to Poland to have the surgery – flights, accommodation and surgery can be done for around £3,000.
However, she ultimately concluded that the risks were too high.
Kelly said: “I feel like (the CCG) are waiting for people to be on the verge of a mental health breakdown before they do anything.
“Technically now I could get a credit card out and go to Poland, but where’s the protection with that?
“I’m having to go private because it’s the last thing I can do unless something changes.”
Alongside experiencing the physical toll of size H breasts, Kelly has consistently had to put up with ignorant and unwanted comments.
She said: “When I was at school, I absolutely loved running and I was such a good runner, but all the lads used to sit up on the hill and watch and comment on my boobs afterwards. It made me feel so insecure and I just wanted to cover them up.
“People think, oh, well you’ve got boobs, you should be happy with the size you’ve got – I’d really want to have that size.
“I’m thinking no, you really wouldn’t.”
Kelly has been really pleased by the public’s overwhelmingly positive response to her online fundraiser, which was launched just two days ago.
She hopes the appeal will help raise awareness of the issues women with large breasts face, which often isn’t spoken about out of fear and shame.
Many women have privately sent Kelly messages of support, and have confided about their own experiences with large breasts.
Kelly said: “At first I was very much like, right I want to do this for me.
“But now I actually want and hope this helps other people.”
She added: “I didn’t realise how many women suffer from this issue until I put the fundraiser up. I thought it was sort of quite a small thing, but since launching the fundraiser I’ve had friends I know saying they wish they could have the surgery too.
“You don’t realise how many women out there are going through this.”
Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group has been approached for comment.