Friends of a father-of-four whose body is ‘eating itself’ have launched a last-minute bid to get him a life-changing operation.

Lee Baker, 43, has gone from a clothes size XL to a small in little over a year.

He was diagnosed with sarcoidosis 12 years ago, a condition that has led to him developing gastroparesis, a delay in gastric emptying that stops the movement of food.

This rare condition means Lee’s stomach is closed, so he can’t eat solid food - instead relying on four medical shakes a day.

Mr Baker, formerly of Welling but now living in Margate, said: “I am sick 6, 7, 8 times a day. I can’t work anymore, and I’ve never not worked a day in my life. I’m getting physically weaker everyday.

“I’m not putting in what is coming out. My stomach doesn’t open.”

Mr Baker was 18 and a half stone, and has dropped to 12 - and he continues to lose weight rapidly.

His family and friends have known about his condition - but have now decided enough is enough.

Helen Bristow, who went to Welling School with Lee, said: “Lee has often posted about his illness but now it's come to the point where his body is malnourished and he can’t eat any food just nutrition drinks. He has a family of four children and this illness has an affect on his daily life.

“In the scheme of things £16,000 isn’t a huge amount and you can’t even buy a reasonable brand new car these days for that price, but if we could save a life and a family it would be amazing.”

Mr Baker, a former retail manager, said friends he had not seen since his days at Brampton Primary have donated to a Justgiving page raising money to get him a pacemaker.

He said: “It makes me emotional, I am very touched people have come together to do this. Getting the pacemaker would give me my life back. It would mean I can eat again, It would genuinely mean the world to me.”

Mrs Bristow, who set up the fundraising page, said the NHS can apply for funding but it is not guaranteed.

The surgery, which costs £16,000 privately, could keep Mr Baker alive.

“I can’t eat with my kids anymore, I’m just wasting away without it,” he said.

The fundraiser has so far been backed by 30 people, many of who are Lee’s old school friends from Welling and Brampton.

The donation page can be found at