Two of the most memorable contestants from season 11 of “The Biggest Loser” will be visiting Wichita Sept. 12-16 to share their message of health and hope. Their visit is being sponsored by Friends University, the Wichita YMCA and LifePoint Church in Valley Center.
Ken and Austin Andrews, a father-son team from the popular weight-loss and life-transforming reality television show that aired in spring 2011, will talk to Wichitans about their life-changing appearance on “The Biggest Loser.” The duo, who collectively lost 332 pounds, will make an appearance at Friends University at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 in the Davis Administration Building’s Alumni Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public. Additionally, Ken and Austin will participate in the Valley Center Fall Festival 5K run/walk Sept. 15. The run/walk is $20 and open to the public.
Ken Andrews and Pastor Steve Trimble of Valley Center’s LifePoint Church connected at a conference, where Trimble learned Andrew’s story, said Andrea Taylor, director of counseling, wellness, and international services at Friends University.
“The two struck up a conversation, and Pastor Steve invited Ken to Wichita to share his experiences with others,” Taylor said.
Amy Thurman of LifePoint Church said the father-son team travel throughout the country as part of their mission and journey of wellness.
“We’re really excited,” Thurman said. “Sunday night we are opening the evening to the community, specifically all area school districts and parents. Austin will speak about encouraging healthy lifestyles in children and youth, as well as address common health issues.”
Events at LifePoint Church include a health seminar with Ken and Austin at 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 15, and a forum for children and youth health and wellness at 6 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16.
Austin said his appearance on “The Biggest Loser” was based on his determination to help others through his own personal struggles.
“I was faced with the opportunity to face my greatest adversary – my weight,” Austin said. “I want to challenge others to do the same – not just with weight. Each individual has his or her own adversary specific to them. Face your adversary and take back what is yours.”
Austin’s says his goal is to help end childhood obesity.
“I want to be a catalyst to help change how educators and parents of school age children approach health, fitness and wellness. I also want to help children become aware of the benefits of being healthy,” he said.
Ken says he wants to show others that there is hope in overcoming obesity or any personal struggle.
“My physical transformation is what people viewed on the television show, but it was my emotional and spiritual renovation that changed me from the inside out,” Ken said. “I was hopeless. I now know that there is hope for every person. And as each person confronts and overcomes his or her personal pain and fear, they will find deep, long-lasting freedom.”
For additional details on the Friends University event, please contact Friends University’s Student Affairs Office at 316-295-5832. To learn more about the Valley Center Fall Festival 5K run/walk, please contact Lisa Vermillion at 316-755-1115.