‘A second chance at life.’

By: Jessica Bonardi

How Solutions Specialist Michael Brooks lost over 300 pounds and the resilience he acquired from the experience.

Full Transparency

Our editorial transparency tool uses blockchain technology to permanently log all changes made to official releases after publication. However, this post is not an official release and therefore not tracked. Visit our learn more for more information.

Learn more

On today’s edition of Up To Speed, we met V Teamer Michael Brooks, a solutions specialist based in Sumter, SC.

Michael lost 360 pounds, a feat that was made possible thanks to his perseverance and a weight loss surgery, largely funded by Verizon’s health benefits. Verizon took a chance on him during a difficult time to help him overcome dangerous health struggles.

“I was at my worst – 615 pounds – and Verizon hired me,” Michael said. “I appreciate that because a lot of people would look at you and automatically assume that you’re lazy.”

After dealing with some excruciating leg pain and visiting a doctor for his sleep apnea, Michael accepted the severity of his situation and decided he needed to make a change for the better.

His doctor had him lose 50 pounds before performing the weight loss surgery, a journey he described as difficult and emotional.

On August 30th, 2021, Michael underwent a procedure that granted what he calls “a second chance at life.”

Since the surgery only helps control appetite, the rest of the work was up to him. After the surgery, he managed to lose 340 pounds over 15 months.

“I don’t think if I continued on that path I would’ve made it,” Michael said. “I feel like a new person, I may be 35 but I feel like I got 10 years back. I forgave myself.”

The national average for the cost of the weight-loss surgery is $30,000, Verizon paid for $27,000 – leaving him with a bill of $3,000.

“$3,000 to change your life is huge,” Michael said. “You can’t put a price tag on your life.”

Tell us what you think of Up To Speed.

Related Articles


On Up To Speed, we met V Teamer Ashley Gadson, a Customer Service Production Support Engineer based in Greenville, SC, who shared that she’s a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community.


Hosts Raquel Wilson and Jen Marin showed us all the ways we’re spreading the word about myPlan around the country, as well as some ways our V Team can get in on the fun.