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‘I’m alive for a reason’: Washington chief justice reacts to 3rd colon cancer diagnosis

Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst was recently diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, but says she lives every day like it's a miracle and a gift.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Doctors have diagnosed State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst with stage four colon cancer for the third time.

“I don’t see it as a death sentence,” Fairhurst said Friday. “I see it as a license to live.”

She said she has good reason to be optimistic. In 2008 and again in 2011 Fairhurst got the same diagnosis. The doctors who originally gave her a couple of years to live later found what they referred to as “no evidence of disease.”

Fairhurst calls it her miracle.

“I’m alive for a reason,” said Fairhurst. “Impossible things happen every day.”

WATCH: Fairhurst reacts to cancer diagnosis

She is not letting her latest cancer diagnosis keep her from performing her duties on the bench. Fairhurst has scheduled her chemotherapy treatments for every other Friday afternoon so she can recover over the weekends.

Despite years of cancer treatments, Fairhurst said she has not missed any oral arguments on the bench.

She said she never considered taking time off to focus on her treatment after getting the most recent diagnosis in December.

“When I can come to work and just get lost in my work, I’m not thinking that I have stage four colon cancer,” said Fairhurst.

She’s cut back on optional public appearances, but Fairhurst said she isn’t letting the diagnosis prevent her from making plans for the future.

She said she's running for re-election in 2020 and has reservations to go to Cooperstown, New York this summer to see Edgar Martinez get inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame.