Not many people have enough courage to fight cancer but the story of Sean Swarner is not less than a miracle. Recipient of ‘Don’t Ever Give Up Award’ presented by Jimmy V Foundation and ESPN in 2007, Swarner was twice diagnosed with life threatening cancer. He not only overcame cancer twice but he is also the first cancer survivor to climb Mount Everest.
At age of 13, Swarner was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease which is a type of lymphoma, in which cancer originates from a specific type of white blood cells called lymphocytes. When he was diagnosed, he was in the fourth and final stage on the cancer. Doctors declared that he will not able to live for more than three months. But he fought the cancer and survived.
After overcoming his first cancer, in 1990 Swarner was diagnosed with another deadly cancer called Askin’s Sarcoma. A sarcoma is a cancer that arises from transformed cells of mesenchymal(type of tissue characterized by loosely associated cells that lack polarity) origin. It is a rare type of cancer. His right lung was attacked by a deadly golf ball-sized tumor. This left him only with one fully functional lung. After removal of tumor, he was expected to live not more than 2 weeks. But like the first time he again survived. He is believed to be the only person in the world to ever have been diagnosed with both these deadly cancers.
He has been voted as one of the world’s top 8 inspiring people of all time. On 16 May, 2002 Sean became first cancer survivor to summit Mount Everest. After climbing Everest, he decided to do more climbing and since then ascended the highest peaks of all other continents i.e. Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Australia and Antarctica and completed the 7-Summits. He is also the first cancer survivor to complete the seven summits. On October 11, 2008, Sean completed the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona. He is author of the book ‘Keep Climbing’ in which he gave an account of his journey from overcoming death to climbing Mount Everest.
Sean is the living proof that cancer patients can and do recover. He is role model from people suffering from cancer and his story will encourage them to never give up. It will also encourage other people that we should never quit in our life. If Sean can survive twice from death, then why can’t we overcome any difficulty which is surely not greater than death.