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Cedar Rapids Survivor Winner, One Year Later

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - It was a little more than a year ago that a Cedar Rapidian took home the ultimate prize on Survivor. While Denise Stapley brought home the million dollar prize, not much has changed for her family of three. 

We still are who we are, we still live in the same house, we're still driving the same cars, but life is good. I mean really, the biggest thing that has changed is really a bigger sense of security for us as a family, Stapley said. 

And Denise's daughter, Sydney, 10, is happy another local, Cedar Rapids Police Officer, Sarah Lacina, is taking a turn in the spotlight.

Watching Survivor now, it's different because we can just relax, not have people like, 'are you Denise Stapley?' Because its slowed down cause there's a new Cedar Rapids person,   Sydney said.

Denise's time on Survivor has also her family a new purpose. 

Its opened up little opportunities for us to pay it forward locally, and on a national level, Denise said.

And it was Denise that inspired Sarah to give Survivor a try.

I was like, wow! There's someone from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, you know can make it on one of these shows, it just kind of made it realistic that, you know, it's a possibility, Lacina said.

Yet, Denise was so good at the game, Sarah said its a lot to live up to.

It's like added pressure that I don't think people really take it into consideration, because, you, I mean, I, have to follow her up! Sarah said.

Denise was surprised by the compliment, saying that Sarah has nothing to worry about.

I just got lucky, there's nothing to live up to.  I got through to the end by the skin of my teeth, a little bit of strategy and apparently some decent timing. You know, I'm just so excited for her, Denise said.

But, if greatness inspires greatness, Sarah is on her way.

I think she played an amazing game, and a lot of people did, and clearly she did because she won! Sarah said.

No matter what happens, just to have somebody else from Iowa, somebody else from Cedar Rapids, and it being another woman, I just think it's like, you know, women kick butt!" Denise added.
Denise won her season of Survivor after going to every single tribal council. Going into Wednesday nights show, Sarah is the only Survivor this season that has yet to go to tribal council.


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