The Markussens spent National Cancer Day (2/4) paying it forward, thanks to many of you. I (Vicki) lost my dad my Freshman year of high school to cancer in his throat. He was 35 years old. My brother, Paul, was diagnosed with the same cancer at 35 and survived. On 2/20/20 my husband Dan was diagnosed with throat cancer. The La Crosse community uplifted us — meals, cards, gift cards, baseball team t-shirt sales, and this ...

Dan is an avid biker. Randi and Erik Pueschner, owners of Smith’s Bike Shop, rallied the biking community and sold a special “cancer sucks” bike kit (shirts and shorts) as a fundraiser. You all raised $516.60! Incredible!

Dan completed seven weeks of chemo and radiation. He keeps testing as cancer free. Woo hoo!

Determined to do a triathlon again in 2021, Dan recently completed the Livestrong program through the YMCA. Livestrong encourages physical activity after cancer. It also bonds that small group of survivors going through the program. It is a mental and physical path to post-treatment healing.

Yes, the bills are there. The Markussens will be fine. Many of our friends and neighbors will not be as fortunate. The #livestrong program at the Y is funded only on private donations. We are taking the love you showed us, expressed in dollars, and paying it forward in order to help exponentially more people. More families need to feel the love because, as the yellow band on the shirt says, #cancersucks🎗 .

Vicki Markussen

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Founder, Engage Greater La Crosse