By KALEY CONNER

kconner@dailynews.net

Simple, but richly blessed.

In a few words, that's how Don Blurton would sum up his life since he married his high-school sweetheart, Jill, 37 years ago.

"It's been a great run," Blurton said.

Blurton has a quiet perseverance that has kept him going through some of life's most challenging circumstances. Diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in 2002, he underwent nearly a year of treatments before entering remission in August 2003.

He's been cancer-free since, a fact he is quick to give thanks for. His faith, along with the support of his family and church friends, gave him strength during those difficult days, he said.

Those who know Blurton well often find encouragement in him.

"This guy has the most positive attitude, and everybody who is friends of ours will tell you that," his wife, Jill Blurton, said. "He's the one who always helped the rest of us when we should be the ones lifting him.

"When he looks in a mirror once in a while and sees his arm, he'll say, 'Wow, that's huge. But it's not cancer. We can deal with it.' "

Blurton's left arm is swollen due to lymphedema, a lasting side-effect from his bout with invasive breast cancer. The swelling might get better if he would limit his physical activity, Jill said, but that simply isn't an option Don wants to consider.

A self-described hard-worker, Blurton is shop foreman at Huston Tires in Hays. He's been working there for nearly 38 years and keeps going simply because he likes his job, he said.

"I enjoy what I do," he said. "I like working for the public," he said. "I enjoy meeting people and helping people and doing what I can for anybody.

"I don't mind getting up every morning and going to work."

Even while undergoing cancer treatments, Blurton continued to work in the tire shop as much as he could.

"I've just been very fortunate. I kept running and going," he said. "And I think that helped me."

His battle with cancer was nearly 11 years ago and sometimes feels surreal, he said.

"It's been so long ago now, it's amazing to me that I've even had cancer and survived and kept right on working," he said.

These days, Blurton spends his free time playing golf and gardening with his wife. He also enjoys spending time with his two children -- he has a son in Hays and a daughter living in Texas.

Life is, after all, about the simple things.

"We live the most simple life, and we are both so content with that," Jill Blurton said. "We've just never wanted for bigger and better."

"As long as everyone's happy and healthy," Don Blurton added.