Husband Loses 170 Pounds to Impersonate Elvis and Serenade His Dying Wife

Mark Shelton did not want to impersonate an overweight Elvis.

Lisa Shelton, who was diagnosed with cancer not long after getting married, didn’t have an ambitious bucket list.

Her husband, Mark, offered her a trip anywhere she wanted to go. But her desire? To see her man dressed up in a sequined jumpsuit, gyrating his way through an Elvis impersonation, just like he used to do in high school.

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They had met in high school, but went on to marry other people and live other lives. Their lives reconnected and they were married in 2014.

Mark had no problem singing for his wife, who has Stage 4 lung cancer. But he didn’t like the way he looked. He weighed 400 pounds and he didn’t think it was respectful to his wife, or the King, to perform in that shape.

So over the period of a very long year, he shed 160 pounds and on Saturday, in Derby Line, Vermont, he performed two sold-out shows for his lovely wife, whom he brought on stage.

“I just smiled at him,” Lisa told Monday. “I just followed his lead. That’s pretty much what I’ve done with him since he’s been in my life. Follow his lead.”

She was also glad she’d bought a new dress, since she sat onstage as he sang “Surrender” to her. “I could just see how much he loved me and it felt really good.”

She could also see how much healthier and happier her husband looked after dropping all those pounds.

“I watched him through the months, turning away food that he absolutely loves, like my mother’s apple pie,” she said. “Being that big is really hard. People look at you funny,” she said.

Not anymore. "People respond differently to him now," she said. "I was just happy for him."

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Mark says his wife is “just the most amazing woman."

"She’s strong, she’s great and you can’t even tell she’s sick," he added.

Mark began impersonating his idol in high school, and later performed in venues in the Northeast and Canada. Lisa, 57, had never seen Mark, 54, perform.

“She was a senior when I was a freshman and seniors don’t talk to freshman,” he joked.

He is down to 214 pounds now, but still wants to lose some more.  And it felt really good to sing for his wife, in his new slimmer self.

“The concert was awesome,” he said. “The community came out in droves. Both shows were sold out a week before.”

The ticket buyers, he says, were “people who love my wife and people who think I’m OK.”

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