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 23 year old student, currently studying law and software engineering. I graduated from a high school where we learned almost every subject in French. Now most of my efforts are going towards graduating and staying healthy.

Please tell us about your county and where you live.

I was born 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 hanging out with friends, traveling, going to the gym, riding my bike, mountain hiking, swimming and enjoying 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, cars, 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 lived with obesity ever since I can remember myself. 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 would lose 20 kilograms in 6 months and gain 30 in the next 3. Until last 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. Recently due to many reasons, I was finally able to lose around 85 kilograms and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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 support anyone who is currently trying to lose weight, answer questions about the journey and taking the first step towards a healthier life.  With the experience and knowledge that I have gained in the past year, I hope that I can help many people. I also hope that in the future, I will learn a lot from other people in the EASO European Patient Council and then I will be able to provide even more support.