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Figure Skaters Rally Behind Beloved Coach In Fight Vs. Cancer

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – In January, long-time coach Nancy Stafne of the Three Rivers Figure Skating Club was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer.

But in no way is that keep her – or her skaters – from fighting it every inch of the way.

“I love watching people achieve,” she said. “I don’t care if it’s a 3-year-old or a 57-year-old, achieving their goals makes me a happy person. I enjoy that.”

Years ago, her skaters gave her the nickname “Fancy Nancy.”

“She is a blast,” said skater Emily Shermer. “She is so much fun. But at the same time she is whole-hardheartedly your biggest fan.”

Said Meghan McCarthy, “She’s always there for you, always finding the good in you.”

But now it’s Stafne who’s receiving the support. In January, doctors diagnosed the 38-year-old coach with Stage 4 colon cancer, which has now spread to her left ovary and her liver.

“One oncologist tells me it’s not curable and I will live with it as long as I can — it’ll be a monkey on my back,” she said. “One other oncologist told me that when it’s done, we will talk about having children. I just got married a year ago and we want to have a child.”

While she continues to fight, she continues to coach, and her skaters have created T-shirts with the phrase “Fancy’s Fighters” printed on the front.

In April, the girls she coaches are putting on a benefit at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Osseo American Legion to help her pay for chemotherapy and medical expenses. Click for more.

“We know it’s going to be a hard fight,” McCarthy said. “But she’s ready to fight, and we are ready to be behind her every step of the way.”

And they are ready to “believe,” a word Stafne uses often when she coaches.

“A lot of people think Stage 4 is a death sentence once it spreads,” Stafne said. “In my world, every day is a party. It’s a good time and I want it to be a good time.”

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