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Layton cancer patient finalist in 'competition of a lifetime'

By Lori Prichard | Posted - Dec. 6, 2011 at 8:13 p.m.

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LAYTON -- A Layton man is hoping to win the competition of a lifetime after facing the battle of a lifetime.

In December 2007, Dan Hedlund was diagnosed with metatastic osteosarcoma and given a 30 percent chance of living.

"My tears were tears of ignorance," said Hedlund, remembering when he was first given the news. "I was crying but I didn't even know what I was crying about. I just knew that cancer was bad and it killed people and I didn't want to die."

Four years later and still very much alive, Hedlund has a story of survival to share with the world.

"Anyone who has cancer knows that journey and to represent that group of people, cancer survivors, is an honor," he said.

There's no right way to feel. Nobody wrote a book called the right way to have cancer. And you're not doing it wrong.

–Dan Hedlund

The competition, In Search of Incredible, is looking for the most compelling story from across the globe. There are stories from Africa, Europe and Asia represented, each colored with the different textures of life.

Fans are able to vote on their favorite story. The grand prize winner will be given the opportunity to have their narrative turned into a short film, which will then be screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

For Hedlund, the competition is also an opportunity to meet his favorite musician, Jason Mraz, whose involvement in the contest is what prompted Hedlund to submit his fight against cancer.

"I got an email saying he was sponsoring this competition," Hedlund said. "I completely forgot that I entered my name into anything and a week before Thanksgiving I got an email saying I've been selected as one of 10 finalists for the United States."

Hedlund stressed his journey is not one he has walked alone -- he was diagnosed with cancer three weeks after he married his wife, Melanie.

Vote: Dan Hedlund
To vote for Dan Hedlund, click HERE. Click on "View All Stories" at the bottom of the page and select his picture.

"Getting used to living with someone is difficult," he said. "You fight about leaving the toilet seat up, leaving the toothpaste cap off of the toothpaste. We kind of got to skip all of that and go to the meat."

Hedlund has endured numerous operations, rounds of chemotherapy and cancer that had gone into remission only to return; he has experience to offer those who are just beginning their battle with cancer.

"The most valuable piece of advice I ever got at the beginning of this was feel how you need to feel," he said. "There's no right way to feel. Nobody wrote a book called the right way to have cancer. And you're not doing it wrong."

Voting for the Incredible Story ends December 8th. To read the stories from around the world click here: www.insearchof


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Lori Prichard


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