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Cancer survivor keeps decades-long FitOne streak going

Joan Truxal refused to let her myelofibrosis diagnosis - or this year's pandemic - knock her off her feet.

BOISE, Idaho — The coronavirus pandemic forced St. Luke's FitOne to go all virtual this year, but one Boise woman isn't phased by the changes. Cancer survivor Joan Truxal has participated in the race virtually for the last three years - and says she's excited to keep going.

Truxal was diagnosed in January 2018 with myelofibrosis, a rare cancer that affects a person's bones and bone marrow.

"It hit me pretty hard," she said. "I was told I need to have a stem cell transplant."

Truxal said she’s been fit her whole life, and she wasn’t going to let her cancer treatments stop her staying active. She did workouts in her hospital room for months until her release, then immediately signed up for FitOne.

RELATED: St. Luke’s FitOne 2020 goes virtual, promoting healthy lifestyles amid pandemic

As a former St Luke’s employee, Truxal hadn’t missed a single year of FitOne since 1993, and wasn’t about to take a year off.

“I knew that I was going to do it, and I had only been out of the hospital for maybe a week or less," she remembered. "I did not have an immune system at all, so I was not allowed to be anywhere in public.”

So Truxal ran a virtual 5k in her neighborhood that year with her daughter and granddaughter, and has done the event virtually ever since.

RELATED: St Luke’s FitOne raises money to build tracks for schools in Treasure, Magic Valley

A long-awaited update on her cancer came from her doctor last month: She no longer has myelofibrosis.

"I am a cancer survivor and I have made it," Truxal said. "I have a positive outlook everyday just to be alive. I love life.”

Truxal says her inspiration comes from her 13-year-old grandaughter Brylee, who was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 6 and made a full recovery from paralysis. They have run FitOne together three times, and say they will keep the streak going next year as well

RELATED: How to do a virtual race: FitOne 2020 event guide

Staying active through things like FitOne is about more than just your physical help, Truxal says. 

“I think that being active keeps yourself and your mind alive and makes you have a better outlook on life,” she said. “Not only does it help you and your body but it helps your community, it helps other people like me to be survivors and if we keep ourselves fit, we can continue to be survivors.”

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