More than air or a lung, Sean Swarner, a cancer survivor, said ‘hope kept me going’.
With only a single lung to support the oxygen levels and stamina required to even go for a short run, Sean has now climbed the tallest peak in every continent.
He was first diagnosed and fought cancer when he was 13 and again when we have 16, when it recurred.
He expressed, that he still recalls how his friends were enjoying their lives, while he was sitting on his shower floor seeing himself lose hair, weight and crying his eyes out because he was told that he only had two weeks to live.
But there is no way but up.
So, he made a personal motivational quote to keep him going:
“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.”1
Helping him turn his weakness into a victory.
After battling his cancer, he started climbing mountains and even became the first cancer survivor to reach the tip of Mount Everest, although he only had a single working lung, because the cancer had made the other dysfunctional.
For each mountain he climbed, that achievement acted as the symbol of hope he wants to give to all those with cancer. Now, he even brings companions for his uphill adventures through his foundation called the Cancer Climber Association.
He wanted to give everyone hope and inspire people about the endless possibilities of the ‘human body and spirit’.
Annually, his foundation gives a cancer survivor an opportunity to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with him, with continuous help along the way. Sean said that each person he has taken up this 19,000 feet Kenyan-peak has seemed stronger and more confident once when they get back down. Showing them that they can do anything they set their mind to.
An example of one such cancer patient was Peter Campbell. A 39-year-old who just couldn’t handle himself after his first chemo for his second round of cancer. Just then he received a message from Sean, saying, ‘I hear you’re going through a rough time. But, if you make it through, I’ll take you with me to climb Mount Kilimanjaro’.
This taught Peter to see his cancer as a mountain to climb and overcome and as promised Sean took Campbell to for the trek up Mount Kilimanjaro.
Peter emotionally narrated that, he’ll never forget the moment when he reached the top and called his wife and kids to tell them that he’s standing on top of the world.
A moment he never imagined he’d ever experience when he was in the hospital bed for 2 years, getting surgeries, chemo and vomiting.
It was all worth it.
Sean made sure of it and continues to teach many like Peter to do so through his foundation, his personal struggles and his undying spirit of hope.
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