Meet new EASO Patient Council Member Konstantin Voynikov

Meet new EASO Patient Council Member Konstantin Voynikov

Konstantin, it is great to meet you, we are pleased to have a Patient Council representative from Bulgaria! Do tell us who you are and a bit about your interests and focus.

I am a 22 year old student, currently studying law and software engineering. I graduated from a high school where we learned almost every subject in French. At the moment most of my efforts are going towards losing weight and being healthy.

Please tell us about your county and where you live.

I live in Sofia, Bulgaria. It’s the capital of my country and the best place for people to study and start their careers out here. As far as Bulgaria goes, it’s a really beautiful place with amazing nature and huge history. It’s the oldest country in Europe that hasn’t changed its name since it was first established. We have some of the most interesting archaeological sites and ancient treasures, which is amazing for me since I really love history.

What are some of your favourite things?

I really like going to the gym, riding my bike, mountain hiking, swimming and now enjoy other things that I wasn’t really able to do before I lost weight!

As far as my hobbies and interests go, I love history, fashion, gaming, working out and following new technology.

Thanks very much Konstantin. Can you tell our readers a bit about your personal experience of obesity?

I have had obesity ever since I can remember. I’ve tried to fight it so many times — ever since I was old enough to realise that it was not good for me, but I failed every single time. I’d lose 20 kilograms in 6 months and gain 30 in the next 3, because I was sick of my diet. Until this year I honestly thought my struggle with obesity was a lost cause and that I would never be able to lose weight and then maintain it. Then I found out about bariatric surgery and I decided to undertake the bariatric procedure. I have combined the surgery with nutritional consultation and a workout plan and everything is falling into place. In only 8 months I have lost 60 kilograms and I’m still going strong and will continue until I reach my goal.

How you currently advocate for patients and hope to advocate for patients in the future:

I am very new to this role, but I have already started working on some things. I recently became a member and participated in the founding of a new Bulgarian organisation that will work on helping people with obesity and try to finally get our medical system to recognise obesity as a disease. There is lots of people in an unfortunate situation that simply cannot afford to fight obesity and I hope that with our work we’ll be able to help them in the future.

I would also love to just help anyone who is currently trying to lose weight or answer questions someone might have about bariatric surgery and life after it.  With the experience and knowledge I have gained in the past months I think that I can help a lot of people and even motivate them to start their weight loss journey or  to keep going and sustain their efforts. Hopefully in the future I’ll learn a lot from other people in the EASO European Patient Council, who are from different countries, and then I will be able to provide even more support.