There Is Always Hope — Just Ask Sean Swarner!

Sean Swarner’s ESPN Segment


“I’m actually the first (and only) cancer survivor to summit the world’s highest mountain … Mt. Everest. When I was only 13, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and given three months to live. When I was 15, I was diagnosed with Askin’s Sarcoma. The prognosis was much worse as the doctors gave me only two weeks to live. Again, I survived. …

Being the only person in the world to have ever had these two cancers, I really felt I should share my story to help motivate others and influence lives. On May 16th, 2002 at 9:32am, I became the first cancer survivor to summit Mt. Everest.

Since then, I have been lucky enough to reach the summits of three more of the world’s seven highest peaks and have spoken internationally about my life and adventures to countless people and organizations. On the summit of Everest I brought a flag adorned with names of people who have been affected by cancer and left it on the top of the world forever commemorating the struggle of cancer patients worldwide.

I did the same to the highest point in Africa, Europe and just recently returned from 23,000-foot Aconcagua in South America! My ultimate goal is to climb the highest mountain on each continent AND trek to the North and South poles.

… The reason for these expeditions is to inspire those affected by cancer (as well as anyone with a pulse!) to dream big and never give up. ”

Sean Swarner was the recipient of the “Don’t Ever Give Up Award” presented by the Jimmy V Foundation and ESPN in 2007. Sean told ESPN Radio’s Bob Valvano, brother of Jimmy, that he would have been more likely to win the lottery four or five times with the same numbers than to have survived both cancers.

Sean did survive and achieved this monumental feat with only one fully functioning lung due to removal of a golf ball sized tumor (and the lung in which it was embedded) as part of his Askin’s diagnosis. He graduated from high school in 1993. To date, Sean has climbed the “Seven Summits” of the world — the tallest mountain peaks located on each of the seven continents — and provides hope and inspiration to thousands if not millions of people living with cancer. Sean’s ultimate goal is to complete the “Explorer’s Grand Slam” — Seven Summits, North and South Geographical Poles and North and South Magnetic Poles. To date, only four other individuals accomplished this feat.

Sean established his own foundation known as “The Cancer Climber Association,” which promotes cancer awareness and helps raise money for cancer research. He also authored “Keep Climbing,” which is the title of his book that recounts his story and journey from the depths of his near death experience to the peaks that he climbed to reach the top of the world 17 years later.

If you were recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer, do not let anyone tell you that there is no hope. Just ask Sean Warner!

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