EUGENE, Ore. -- Hundreds of Oregon’s "biggest losers" celebrated their collective journey through weight loss Saturday.
Members of Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) gathered at the Hilton Eugene for the organization’s annual statewide convention.
The event included recognition of those who’ve met their goal weight and a graduation ceremony for many of their members.
In 2010, Oregonians lost 24,588 pounds across 212 TOPS chapters.
Two of those members were named Oregon’s TOPS "King and Queen."
Wayne Elven of Hillsboro took the crown in the men’s category and Dione Housden of Milwaukie won recognition for her weight loss of 228 pounds.
Housden said her personal weight loss journey included moments of doubt and failure, but she hopes others see her weight loss as a sign of how perseverance can pay off.
“If I could leave here and inspire one person to try again, if they’ve gained their weight back, try again,” said Housden. “Keep trying. It took (Wayne Elven) 10 years and it took me 18 years. Never give up.”
The TOPS graduates will now focus on keeping the weight off as they move into a group called KOPS, otherwise known as Keep Off Pounds Sensibly.
TOPS has 10,000 chapters throughout the US and Canada that focus on slow, steady weight loss through support and education. T
he organization was established in 1948 and charges members an annual fee of $26.