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Faith powers marathon woman

Postma takes on cancer with her zest for life

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Faith powers marathon woman

Eli Postma’s Team in Training members are shown after finishing the half-mile marathon walk in San Francisco in October. They are, from left, Trish Christensen, Stacy Van Laar and Debbie Sanders an...

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POSTED January 15, 2013 1:09 a.m.

Eli Postma is a woman with a mission.

As a cancer survivor, her passion to help others has made her a hero as she prepares for a marathon April 28 in Washington, D.C.

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at Bethany Home and a school teacher in her native Azores, Elizete Postma has a history of setting goals in life and persistently seeing them through to positive ends.  She cites her strong faith as her support.

She moves around the skilled nursing facility every day in Ripon like an “Energizer Bunny” going from one task to another knocking off her list of duties on the floor of the home.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has named her their team in training “TNT Hero” for her courage in fighting Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that was followed by debilitating heart disease.  She had been disabled by the second illness and was told by doctors that she wouldn’t fully recover to lead an active life. She proved them wrong.

Postma had witnessed her 26-year-old brother die from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1983. She developed the same disease 10 years later.  Treatments in 1993 included six months of chemotherapy and 28 radiation treatments.

“I never lost hope,” Postma said. “I put my faith in God and my incredible doctors. With the tireless support of church, family and friends, I fought back, became cancer free, and I have been in remission ever since.”

In June of last year Postma collapsed at work from the effects of the radiation she had 18 years earlier. It was her heart.  She needed open heart surgery, but her heart was too weak to withstand the procedure.

A surgeon came forward and offered some hope with an angioplasty procedure, cleaning out her clogged arteries and implanting two stents. Her physical activity would always be limited, he told her.  She wouldn’t be able to work at a demanding job without becoming exhausted.

Postma wouldn’t settle for that prognosis. She would have no defeatism in her life.  This is where she became the hero for her cancer group.  She was determined to get better, be active again, and be a fundraiser for the society through its fundraisers.

When she left the hospital, she was only able to walk slowly for several minutes when exhaustion would take over her body.  Day-by-day she forced herself to walk longer distances, gradually building greater stamina and strength.

Postma joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s “Team in Training” (TNT) last June, walking with other members who encouraged her to keep pushing her stamina and increasing her distance.  Six months later, the Bethany CNA completed the Nike Women’s Half Marathon fundraiser in San Francisco. She raised thousands of dollars in the process.

Now she is training for her second Half Marathon set for February. She is hoping for more sponsors who will help her raise even more money for the non-profit, cancer-fighting group.

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