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August 24, 2012 09:54 PM

Cancer Survivor: Livestrong Remains Strong

Sioux Falls, SD

Lance Armstrong remains an inspiration to a two-time cancer survivor from South Dakota who's active in the foundation Armstrong started 15 years ago to help cancer patients around the world.

Matt Ellefson's battle with cancer began in 2009, when this non-smoker learned he had a rare form of lung cancer.

"And my prognosis wasn't good," Ellefson said.

After more than a year in remission, Ellefson's cancer returned.

"Unfortunately, my disease isn't curable, so it's something I'm going to have to continue to treat for the rest of my life," Ellefson said.

Ellefson has looked to Lance Armstrong's successful fight against testicular cancer as a guidepost along his own road to recovery.

"Because he not only beat the disease, he came out of it better than he went into it.  And that is so powerful.  I can't tell you how powerful that is," Ellefson said.

Now Ellefson is helping others facing cancer as a region leader for Armstrong's Livestrong organization.
"I strongly believe that sometimes the best way to get through your worst is helping other people get through theirs," Ellefson said.

Ellefson says the global reach of Livestrong, with its trademark yellow wristband, won't be overshadowed by Armstrong's troubles in the cycling world.

"Lance Armstrong, to me is a survivor, a cancer survivor.  He's not a seven time Tour de France cyclist.  He's a cancer survivor and he is helping others affected by cancer every day," Ellefson said.

Ellefson says Armstrong should be able to help more cancer patients now that he's no longer distracted by fighting doping allegations.

To learn more about Livestrong, click here.



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