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Auburn's Doxon family shows support for ailing worker
2010 was especially painful to Mark Swenson.
He tragically lost his 23-year-old son, Jordan, in a horrible car crash in late July.
Four days earlier, he had lost his brother-in-law to bone cancer.
Days after his son's death, Swenson began to experience severe chest pains.
What doctors ultimately found was a large tumor in his chest.
Faced with stage four lung cancer, the 54-year-old Swenson soon underwent aggressive chemotherapy.
While his prognosis is uncertain, Swenson remains optimistic, buoyed by the prospects of a promising drug trial treatment and the strong support of many family and friends.
"I've got a lot to be thankful for," said Swenson, who grew up in Auburn, where he has worked in the Doxon Toyota Scion Service Department for nearly 30 years. "I'm still walking around, working. I don't know what the outcome will be, but I'm confident with my situation."
A family man of deep faith, Swenson plans to continue working for as along as he physically can.
His Doxon family understands. They remain in his corner, keeping his spirits high with encouraging words, timely humor, high-fiber foods and an occasional treat.
"He has his secret Twinkie and Mountain Dew stash," said Stephanie Dodson, an assistant service manager.
In a show of solidarity, 18 employees recently shaved their heads. Dodson manned the clippers.
"I was in tears," Swenson said of the gesture. "It's unbelievable. It's huge, it's a huge show of support."
Dealer ownership also has stepped up.
Mark Doxon presented Swenson, a motorcycle enthusiast, with a Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider, a limited edition model and a bargain buy from a customer's trade-in.
"I couldn't believe it," Swenson said.
Through love and prayer, Swenson is determined to fight on.
"It comes down to my faith," he said. "My faith counts for something. That's how I'm getting through this."
Other families might collapse under the strain of traumatic challenges, but the Swensons have been resilient.
"Great family, a very strong family," said David Streeter-Dybdahl, Doxon's finance director and human resource manager. "And Mark is just a great guy."