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Vasa skier races against cancer

Fri, Feb  6, 2015 - By Pete LaPlaca

Traverse City, MI February 5, 2015---Grawn resident Sara Cockrell is challenging friends and fellow skiers to sponsor her efforts in the coming North American Vasa 50 kilometer classic cross country ski race. After a two year battle with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, she is cancer free and attempting to raise money for the Munson Healthcare Cancer Patient Needs Fund. She has offered to match all contributions up to $2,500 and all proceeds will be used to assist local patients who are receiving cancer treatment and need financial help.

Ms. Cockrell went through a series of chemotherapy treatments in 2014 at Munson Hospital before receiving an autologous stem cell transplant at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. With the help of her family, friends and medical personnel at both Munson and Mayo, she has persevered and overcome all obstacles. Her positive attitude throughout was an inspiration to all who know her.

Sara Cockrell

Sara Cockrell on left

Sara is a veteran cross country skier, cyclist, paddler and hiker with a wide network of friends. Her indomitable spirit is best illustrated by her motto: Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma messed with the wrong CHICK!" Vasa president, Mark Esper, remarked; "There is a reason that Sara's license plate is "Energizer"; she has the energy of a teen-ager and it is great to see her back on skis!" Her friend, Linda Deneen commented, "It's such a contrast to last year! Recently Sara and I met at Jack Pine Valley while she was completing a training ski. Last year, we met in her hospital room at Munson!" Similarly, Sara's training partner Paula Deneen said; "I'm so happy to have Sara, my classic ski buddy back skiing with me this season! Since April, she has worked very hard to regain her endurance fitness and to be able to finish a 50k Vasa. I thought that it is an awesome idea to use her Vasa goal as a fundraiser to help others battling cancer."

Sara is challenging friends and supporters to donate 50 cents per kilometer or $25 for the Munson Healthcare's Cancer Patient Needs Fund. She expects to finish the Vasa 50k classic race on Saturday February 14th at approximately 2 pm. In addition to completing the race, Sara will match every dollar up to $2,500. You can check the race results at after the race, or in the Traverse City Record-Eagle on Sunday and make your donation by clicking on