Who is Ethan Zohn and Why Did I Interview Him for Talking GOOD?


Ethan Zohn - Survivor: Africa winner and 2-time cancer survivor
Ethan Zohn – Survivor: Africa winner and 2-time cancer survivor.

When Rich Polt, the founder of Talking GOOD, asked me to be a contributor to the site, I gave a lot of thought to who I would like to profile.  The first person that came to mind was Ethan Zohn.

This was going to be a challenge though, since I had never met Ethan and it was unlikely that he had noticed 2 1/2 years ago when I followed him on Twitter.  I can’t remember exactly how I came across him on Twitter, perhaps it was a re-tweet from another cancer survivor or hardcore soccer fan. I became more intrigued when I read his bio, I found out that he was a 2-time cancer survivor. So I dug a little further – oh he was that Ethan Zohn, the guy who won Survivor! And he co-founded a nonprofit organization, Grassroot Soccer, that uses the Beautiful Game as a tool to mobilize communities in Africa to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. Wow, that is a pretty amazing, creative, and giving guy to randomly find on Twitter. So I followed him.

And then I found out that Ethan had also had beaten Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2009 and then a recurrence of the same disease only months later. It was the summer of 2011 when I found this guy on Twitter, and I was battling my own Hodgkin’s recurrence. Ethan was only the 2nd person, in addition to myself, I had ever heard of who had Hodgkin’s and a recurrence. And this guy was working as a national ambassador to LIVESTRONG and SU2C.  I have to admit, I was amazed that this guy had crossed my path!  The odds of me finding another double survivor of Hodgkin’s were probably between slim and none. And there he was – right on Twitter.

Flash forward to February 2014. I agree to join Rich’s team of contributors and then use social media to figure out that I have a few friends who actually know Ethan.  So one of them graciously reached out to him on my behalf. He sends me an email in which his greeting to me is “Shalom to my fellow canzer crusher”.  

I am truly honored to have had the opportunity to share Ethan’s incredible story and his inspiring perspective on life, giving, and surviving in his profile on Talking GOOD. The most amazing part of his profile to me was in his answer to the final question, in which I asked him to describe a moment in his life that helped him gain clarity about your purpose. He shares that he was initially torn on whether or not he should go public with his cancer battle. And then he received an amazingly validating letter shortly after he did. I certainly share the sentiments of the moving letter (shared at the end of the profile).  After completing my treatments and recovery, I have been inspired by Ethan’s generosity and spirit to increase my own energy in fundraising for the PMC and my advocacy for young adults facing cancer.

Grassroot Soccer uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV.
Grassroot Soccer uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV.

I hope you enjoy my profile of my fellow canzer crusher and new friend Ethan Zohn on TalkingGOOD.com! I welcome your feedback.

Please take a moment and learn more about Grassroot Soccer and the hundreds of thousands of lives they have impacted.

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