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TOPS Queen to speak here

Staff writer

A queen with Marion County roots is returning June 9 to share her experiences in reaching her weight-loss goal.

Rani Rivas, 2015 Kansas TOPS queen from Wichita, will be in Marion to speak at TOPS KS 1075 Marion’s weekly meeting at 9:30 a.m. June 9 in the community room at Hilltop Manor.

TOPS members pledge to “take off pounds sensibly.”

Rivas and her parents, Lee and Evelyn Westhafer, moved to Marion in 1957, where she attended seventh grade.

They moved to Hillsboro the next year. Lee Westhafer was a police officer for five years and then drove truck for Tip Top Creamery.

Rivas graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1963. While in high school, she worked as a waitress at The Wheel Inn and later worked in Smiley Schmidt’s restaurant on Main Street.

She moved to Wichita in 1971 and has lived there ever since. A son lives at Hillsboro, and a sister lives at Goessel.

Rivas, 70, has a master’s degree in social work and addiction counseling. While working with drug and alcohol addicts, she realized she was a food addict. She weighed more than 200 pounds.

Rivas joined a Wichita TOPS chapter in 2002 but continued to fight weight gain, growing to 242 pounds before she got serious.

“I was disgusted with myself,” she said. “I thought, if they have to give something up, why don’t I have to do the same?”

She got serious in 2012 and lost 72 pounds to reach her goal in January 2015.

“You can want it in your mind, but until you get it in your heart, you won’t get it done,” she said.

The public is invited to hear Rivas share her weight-loss journey. Parking is available across the street from Hilltop Manor at Marion County Special Education Cooperative.

Last modified June 2, 2016

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