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Keep Climbing

How I Beat Cancer and Reached the Top of the World

The 29,035-foot giant known as Mount Everest tortures its challengers with life-threatening conditions such as 100 mph winds, the dramatic loss of oxygen, snowstorms, and deadly avalanches. Climbers of Everest are faced with incredible dangers, but for Sean Swarner the obstacles he overcame prior to his summiting make his story even more compelling.

Sean isn't just a cancer survivor; he is truly a medical marvel. He is the only person in the world ever to have been diagnosed with both Hodgkin's disease and Askin's sarcoma. He was diagnosed in the fourth and final stage of Hodgkin's disease at the age of thirteen, when doctors expected him to live for no more than three months. He overcame his illness only to be stricken a second time when a deadly golf ball-sized tumor attacked his right lung. After removal of the Askin's tumor, Sean was expected to live for less than two weeks. A decade later and with only partial use of his lungs, Sean became famous for being the first cancer survivor to climb Mount Everest.

Sean's successful summiting of Mount Everest was driven not only by his desire to reach the highest peak in the world but also by his determination to use his accomplishment as a way to bring hope to others facing seemingly insurmountable odds. By showing those affected by cancer how he has conquered some of the most difficult obstacles life could offer, Sean inspires others with the will to live. Living proof that cancer patients can and do recover, his story will encourage those touched by cancer to dream big and never give up. Despite life's setbacks, Sean believes those dreams are always in reach.

Sean's story is not just about illness, heartache, and pain; it's about something greater. It's about hope. It's about helping others and never quitting. It's about personal battles with the elements and coming out on top of the world . . . literally.

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Sean Swarner, the first cancer survivor to climb Mount Everest, continues to go on adventures that inspire and raise cancer awareness. He is close to becoming only the fifth person in history and the first cancer survivor to accomplish the "Adventure Grand Slam," which consists not only of climbing to the peak of the tallest mountain on each of the earth's seven continents but also trekking to both the North and South Poles. On every peak, he plants a flag bearing the following words: "Dedicated to all those affected by cancer in this small world!! Keep climbing!!" Visit him online at www.seanswarner.com.

"The thing about cancer is that it forces you to focus on what is important and pushes you to the limits of your determination. As more people survive -- and even thrive -- beyond a cancer diagnosis, the disease is losing its status as an automatic death sentence. In being the first cancer survivor to reach the summit of Mount Everest, Sean Swarner not only realized his dream but also gave hope to millions of people affected by cancer. He has proved, once again, that there is life beyond a cancer diagnosis and that there is always reason to believe." -- Lance Armstrong

"Sean Swarner's riveting book about surviving cancer and eventually climbing Mount Everest is a validation of life. I found myself wincing at all the agonizing cancer tests and chemo treatments, empathizing with his teenage worries and struggles, and cheering each time he emerged from ashes to triumph again. Sean's story is one of alchemy. Miraculously, he found a way to turn lead into gold. His story should give a profound sense of hope to all the would-be alchemists who yearn not only to survive their struggles but to turn them into the fuel to climb the highest mountains." -- Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to summit Mt. Everest and author of Touch the Top of the World

"I felt very humble in reading Sean's account -- I reached the top of Everest with a long mountaineering background and without a day's serious illness in my life. He climbed so many 'Everests' in his life and achieved them against all the odds by sheer guts, determination and an indomitable sense of humor. This is a great and inspiring read on so many different levels." -- Sir Christopher Bonington, famed British mountaineer

"Sean's story proves that miracles happen every day -- some of them just happen at higher elevations than others. His story of triumph over adversity is an inspiration to us all!" -- Dr. Ben Lerner, author of One Minute Wellness