Three-time cancer survivor prepares for third marathon

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by JOBIN PANICKER / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 9:44 AM

KELLER, Texas — Candice Stinnett calls it her "healing time" — a nine-mile jog up and around her neighborhood in Keller. It's all part of her preparation for Sunday's MetroPCS Dallas Marathon.

"I never gave myself that time to meditate, to pray, and to reflect," she said.

Stinnett is a three-time cancer survivor. She was first diagnosed in February 2008 with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph tissue, when she was 21 years old.

"When I wasn't praying myself to sleep, I was literally planning my funeral," she said.

She remembers the many trips to Baylor Dallas. She said it was a very dark and difficult time, but added that family and friends helped push her through it.

When the cancer came back a second time in the summer of 2009, she was badly in need of a stem cell transplant. Stinnett said there were no matches to family members, so doctors used her own cells.

"I knew something was wrong when my oncologist came in and said, 'So how are you feeling?" she recalled.

The cancer returned again in July 2010, but this time there was some good news: She was a near-perfect match to a stem cell donor in California, Jared Kira of the Los Angeles area.

"She's got a lot of spunk, a lot of fire, and I'm not surprised she's overcome cancer three different times," Kira said.

Stinnett has been in remission since October 7, 2010. With the urging of a friend, Stinnett said she challenged herself to run one marathon for every bout with cancer.

Her first race was in Paris, France; then in San Francisco with her new donor friend, Jared Kira.

Her third marathon will be the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon.

"If you just remember the reason you started, it's impossible to give up," Stinnett said.

She hopes to break five-and-a-half hours when she runs on Sunday and says says crossing that finish line will be an incredible moment.

"It's going to be very emotional; three years in remission, three-time cancer survivor, and my third marathon in one year," she said.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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