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My name is Russell Elleven (pronounced El a ven) and I am an ordained minister and Health Coach. I was born in Fort Worth, Texas and spent almost all of my life in that area. With the exception of spending some time in Nashville, Tennessee attending graduate school, I always lived near where I was born.
I went to school a lot. Though it doesn’t likely show, I have a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and two doctoral degrees. I have degrees in History, Theology, and Education. I loved school even though I basically flunked out of my first attempt at college.
Part of the reason I began to love school so much was because I am physically different. And, on college and university campuses the professors and administrators didn’t care about that. They just wanted me to think, turn in my work on time, and be a good student. My relationships with my professors, particularly in graduate school, were (and are) some of my most cherished. I wound up working in higher education as a professor and administrator for 17 years. To this day, I still teach an online course at the last university where I was employed.
The reason I am physically different is because of cancer. When I was 13 years old I had bone cancer in my left arm. My entire left arm had to be amputated along with the scapula and collarbone. And guess what, I was left handed! They said I’d be lucky to live. That was in 1978…
In 2005 I became the minister of a small church in Fort Worth. I loved them and they loved me. It was a wonderfully difficult “job.” After almost a decade of church work my phenomenal spouse (we’ve been married since 1992) who had always been supportive of my incessant schooling and employment decisions, was offered a job opportunity in the Chicago area. Out of this difficult decision to leave our home, came the opportunity to create The Minister of Health.
But something else happened in 2005 that is very important to my story and why health is so important to me. That’s when I got cancer again…
This time it was colorectal and, again, it required changes to my body that I’ll not go into here. But it was bad. This crisis prompted me to begin looking at health in a very different way. As I visited church members in the hospital, as I witnessed the health struggles of my own family, I read and read voraciously about health matters. The thing I began to realize is that I could be my own best ally by living a healthy lifestyle; eating well, paying better attention to relationships, having a career that fed me, and to take time to move and slow down, to meditate, and take better care of my body.
It should not have taken another major cancer diagnosis to wake me up to the reality of my role in my own health. Today my passion, my calling if you will, is to help others get on the road to better health and wellness through coaching, by walking with people and being their ally, along this journey.
If interested, here are my credentials.