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Survivor celebrates five years without cancer

Marcia Plasil

Marcia Plasil got her life back five years ago after a stem cell transplant.

After being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2002, Plasil, of Nevis, decided "cancer is not going to change my life."

Since then, she has been stubborn, she said, and fought hard against cancer.

To celebrate her five years of being cancer free, Plasil will participate in this year's Relay for Life.

The event begins at 1 p.m. Friday, June 19 at the Park Rapids Area High School track.

Plasil said she cherishes every day since she recovered from the stem cell transplant in 2004.

"It was one of the most difficult experiences I've been through," she said.

And Plasil said she made it because of support she received from friends.

"To me, cancer was very humbling," she said. "It's difficult to ask people for help."

She doesn't have family around and her husband, Jim, died from bile duct cancer in 1995. Friends were her support system.

The stem cell transplant was done at Mayo Clinic. Plasil said she ended up being very sick but got through it.

While she was in Rochester, she had support from Janet and Dwight Pfeifer. The couple opens up their home to Mayo Clinic patients and families at no charge. They provide meals, transportation to clinic appointments and a place to stay.

Plasil had heard about the Pfeifers through word of mouth. They had lived on Boulder Lake for many years before moving to Rochester, she said.

"Janet went with me for treatments and sat with me," Plasil said. "Dwight would give me rides to and from the clinic. They became great friends."

She's still in touch with the couple that helped her through one of the most difficult times in her life.

"I'm in awe of them, they became like family," Plasil said.

Besides Relay for Life, Plasil also participates in a cancer walk called Light the Night, which takes place at Lake Phalen in St. Paul each fall. She walks with several friends who have also had cancer.

Over the years, Plasil said she continues to remember the Footprints prayer and said she "felt like God was holding me" during her battle with cancer.

Plasil reiterated that having a positive attitude helps during chemotherapy and radiation. She's also willing to talk to anyone who might have cancer and wants to talk. Her number is 652-4472.

"You can't let it control your life," she said. "The good will come. You just have to be stubborn.