Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Cancer Survivor Climbs World's Tallest Peaks, Helps Others Do the Same

Adventure

Sean Swarner battled cancer twice—once when he was 13 and again at 16. The now 41-year-old, who only has one lung, was the first cancer survivor to summit Mount Everest. He's climbed the tallest peak on every continent—the so-called "Seven Summits"—and he's completed the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

Sean Swarner, a cancer survivor, climbed the "Seven Summits" and now helps other cancer survivors climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Photo credit: Sean Swarner

He recently told TODAY that he's lucky to be alive. "I'm the only person I know of who's had both Hodgkin's disease and Askin's sarcoma," he said. "The prognosis of surviving both was the equivalent of winning the lottery four times in a row with the same numbers."

He spent a year in a medically-induced coma, and at one point, was given just two weeks to live. Sitting in the hospital watching the Ironman on TV, he decided that if he survived, his goal would be to complete the Ironman.

"What kept me going is a quote I came up with and it's: 'The human body can live roughly 30 days without food. The human condition can sustain itself for roughly three days without water, but no human alive can live for more than 30 seconds without hope.' So hope kept me going," he said.

Now, he helps others who are struggling with what he went through by guiding them up Africa's tallest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. He's summited it a dozen times. Every year his foundation, the Cancer Climber Association, gives a cancer survivor the chance to climb with him.

"I remember him saying one day, 'Hey, you make it through this and I'll take you up to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with me,'" Peter Campbell, a cancer survivor, told TODAY. "He actually taught me to look at my cancer as a mountain, my mountain being remission."

Last July, Campbell hiked with Swarner to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

"We got to make a phone call from the top. My wife kept my kids up so at one o'clock in the morning I called home and told her, 'I'm standing on top of the world.' It's something I'll never forget," an emotional Campbell said.

"It made up for the two years I laid in a hospital bed, the surgeries, the chemo, puking, not knowing. But it was worth it," he said.

To hear more about Sean Swarner's inspiring life story, watch this video from Swarner:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

NASA Scientist Dying of Cancer Attacked by Climate Deniers

10,000 Sharks Swarm Florida Coast Beaches

World’s First Vegan Supermarket Chain to Open in Portland

Gruesome Tumors on Sea Turtles Linked to Climate Change and Pollution

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Humpback whale splashing in the North West Atlantic Ocean, Massachusetts. Tim Graham / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

In a move that environmentalists warned could further imperil hundreds of endangered species and a protected habitat for the sake of profit, President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation rolling back an Obama-era order and opening nearly 5,000 square miles off the coast of New England to commercial fishing.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a healthy way to incorporate vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants into your diet.

Read More Show Less
These 19 organizations and individuals represent a small portion of the efforts underway to fight racism and inequality and to build stronger Black communities and food systems. rez-art / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg

Following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, people around the United States are protesting racism, police brutality, inequality, and violence in their own communities. No matter your political affiliation, the violence by multiple police departments in this country is unacceptable.

Read More Show Less
Residents plant mangroves on the coast of West Aceh District in Indonesia on Feb. 21, 2020. Mangroves play a crucial role in stabilizing the coastline, providing protection from storms, waves and tidal erosion. Dekyon Eon / Opn Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.

Read More Show Less
UN World Oceans Day is usually an invite-only affair at the UN headquarters in New York, but this year anyone can join in by following the live stream on the UNWOD website from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. https://unworldoceansday.org/

Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?

Read More Show Less
Cryptococcus yeasts (pictured), including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas

From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.

Read More Show Less

Trending

National Trails Day 2020 is now titled In Solidarity, AHS Suspends Promotion of National Trails Day 2020. The American Hiking Society is seeking to amplify Black voices in the outdoor community and advocate for equal access to the outdoors. Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

This Saturday, June 6, marks National Trails Day, an annual celebration of the remarkable recreational, scenic and hiking trails that crisscross parks nationwide. The event, which started in 1993, honors the National Trail System and calls for volunteers to help with trail maintenance in parks across the country.

Read More Show Less