CARY, N.C. – Some stories, such as an individual’s victory over cancer and how that person uses the deadly encounter to help others, are just more important than the latest tales of woe from Nortel, or rumors about Red Hat takeovers – or the latest venture deal.

Jeff Varner and his wife Jennifer, partners in the Web site business Pure eCommerce, have a wonderful cancer victory story to share. This week they are auctioning off a complete Web site business to benefit St. Anthony’s hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., where Jeff was treated for Stage 3 colon cancer 10 years ago. At age 40, Jeff also will be competing in a fund-raising triathlon for that hospital.

Just back from their honeymoon, the Varners learned that Jeff was very ill. Today, ever grateful to be alive, Jeff is seeking ways to give back to others. Jennifer, who is ever grateful to still have a husband and a father for the couple’s three children, shares with others as well.

The Skinny (a four-year Stage 3 colon cancer survivor) talked with the Varners about their cancer experience – and what they want to share with other while gearing up for the site auction.

Jeff, what is your essential message to other people diagnosed with this disease?

That a cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. In fact, the actual diagnosis can be a blessing if you choose to look at it as one. Cancer changed my life for the better. It helped me face my past, and plan a better future. It’s amazing how quickly the diagnosis of cancer can change your life and help you prioritize.

What are your views on regular examination and preventative measures, such as diet/exercise?

Obviously regular examination is critical. Also, I try to monitor the amount of meat I eat. I work out daily. When I was diagnosed my wife got me into juicing, which I feel in so many ways helped me survive my chemo. I still do carrot juices to this day. We also try to eat as much organic food as possible.

I was raised eating meat 6 days a week, mostly meat and potatoes. I now know that meat intake has to be monitored and regular exercise has to part of your routine.

The year prior to having cancer I was living abroad and had symptoms. I ignored the symptoms, always making excuses for what they could be stemming from. I was young so cancer never even occurred to me. I now know that cancer doesn’t discriminate and it’s crucial to listen to your body.

You have to be thankful for your health and when something is wrong go to the doctor. How do you strive to be an example for others?

I think our main purpose with making our story public is that I want others to know there is life after cancer – in my case an amazing life filled with hope. My goals prior to cancer certainly weren’t as high as they are now. I love telling others with cancer or who have just finished treatment my story. I want them to have hope – undeniable, irresistible hope. Without hope you have nothing.

Technology has certainly improved since your initial diagnosis, has it not? From detection to therapies? But should people rely on the salvation of medical science?

After I was diagnosed my wife hit the Internet. She learned as much as she could. We NEVER settled for one doctor’s opinion. We collected numerous opinions, lots of research, and then made an educated decision.

When I was diagnosed I went to two different oncologists. One wanted a more conservative approach while the other wanted to tackle the cancer full force. That doctor warned me that I would be extremely sick because of the aggressive treatment, but with my wife by my side I knew I could do it. I choose the aggressive route and I’m glad I did. I believe that moment changed my life.

Coming Wednesday: Jennifer’s side of the story.