ST. PAUL PARK, Minn. - Best friends for 40 years, Joe Marushin and Jim Small face a love for the Vikings but as they pack for Saturday's playoff game at Lambeau Field, it's clear they share something else.
In addition to the purple gear, they both must also pack medication. You see, both are battling cancer.
"I was diagnosed in May with cancer," says Small before turning to his best friend. "Yours has been a couple years ago right?"
Joe: It was May also, 2010. 3:27
Small is battling esophageal cancer.
Marushin is battling blood cancer.
So this football season they started going to as many Vikings games as possible including their first away game together in St. Louis.
"Hats off to the St. Louis fans. They were very pleasant to me." says Marushin.
So pleasant, he missed a full quarter talking to Rams fans.
"I bought two beers, I ended up drinking them both because he never showed up!" says Small.
The Vikings won that game.
In fact the Vikings won all 5 regular season games these two attended which, with their illness, hasn't always been an easy feat.
"The TCF Bank stadium game he pushed me in a wheelchair through all the snow so we could go to that game." says Marushin.
Small's treatment is promising but Marushin's prognosis is not as good. His blood cancer is incurable.
"You know, the lord has a reason to call me home but we have an agreement," says Marushin. "We put it on hold until the Vikings win the Super Bowl."
While Marushin may dying, these two best friends are intent on living with purple pride until the end.
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