Sean Swarner Interesting Facts – Learn how Sean not only beat cancer twice but went on to summit Mt. Everest and the remaining 6 summits and the north and south poles.
He now brings hope to all who have cancer and those who have survived cancer with his organization CancerClimber.org.
I loved, loved, loved this conversation with Sean and my hope is next July 2022, I will join him to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and add the names of my own loved ones, who have had to deal with cancer and either survived or lost their battle with this awful disease.
Thanks so much for listening!
Speaker | Author | Performance Coach Adventurer | World Record Holder
Podcast Music By: Andy Galore, Album: “Out and About“, Song: “Chicken & Scotch” 2014
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Joe: Ok, today, my guest is Shawn Swarner. Sean is an incredible human being, you’re not going to believe the things that he has done already in his life. And I am so excited for this interview. As I was talking to Sean offline, I was explaining how the whole thought of summiting Everest is just in itself amazing. And then the way that it’s been accomplished by Shaun and the adversity that he had to deal with growing up and just to to be this person that he is. So this is exciting, not just at a sports level or at a level of just doing all these amazing feats, but just just the human drive that this person has. So, Shawn, welcome to the show. Man, I am so excited to have.
Sean: I appreciate it. Thank you for having me. I’m excited to do the.
Joe: So I like to start and people that listen to my podcast hear me say this one hundred times that I like to start from the beginning. And I know you probably told the story a million times already, but I like to set a foundation of pollution is where you came from, how you grew up, the main health factors that happen early on, how you got over that and then become who you are today. So if you don’t mind, if you could at least give us as much of the back on the floor is yours so as much of the back story that you want to give? I welcome it all.
Sean: I appreciate that and I’m going through my mind, and one of the things that got me through was a sense of humor, which we’ll get to, but I’m assuming you probably don’t want to go back. Forty six years with my mom and dad got together, then nine months later.
Joe: Yeah, that’s got no so that we could start right there. That’s what.
Sean: So I came into the world crying and screaming and kicking. And
Joe: There we go,
Sean: I remember it like it was yesterday.
Sean: No, I. Well, I guess my I was born and raised in Ohio, just a normal Midwest kid. I remember back in the day before toilet paper was hard to find. We would TPE the coach’s house and across country in the house. And then he installed a motion sensor lights. So we had to be a little bit more careful. And I just I learned to. Do things I wasn’t supposed to, but I never got caught because I learned how to not get caught. So I was a kind of a studious growing up. But everything was it was completely normal until I was in eighth grade. And I was actually I was going up for a layup and basketball things and I came down and something snapped my neck and it sounded like like, say, for Thanksgiving, you grab the chicken bone and you’re pulling on the leg like the ripping the tendons in the ligaments and everything. That’s that’s kind of what my knee sounded like when I was hobbling over to the stage that to sit down my whole body the next day swallowed up so much. My my mom and dad couldn’t even recognize their own son. So they stuck in the local hospital. Willard, Ohio, population was five thousand, I think is maybe five thousand three now. So it’s not much just change. Maybe eight stoplights or something like that, but they stuck in the hospital, they started treating me for pneumonia and it’s very it’s very difficult to cure cancer by sucking on a nebulizer. So I wasn’t getting any better. But at 13, I was thinking, well, you know, I’m going to soak up all this attention. I got the cheerleaders coming in. I got my friends coming out of balloons all over my room.
Sean: It was fantastic. But I didn’t know what was going on in my body, which was advanced stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma. And I remember my parents didn’t tell me that I had cancer. They told me that I had Hodgkin’s. And I can only imagine what they were going through when the doctor told them that I had three months to live. The doctors approach to my my parents said your first born son now has an expiration date. And no one wants to hear that, and I’ve heard that one of the greatest pains, pains that you can have is outliving your your son or your daughter. So I didn’t want that to ever happen to my mom and dad. And I remember very vividly where I was on the bottom of the on my hands and knees in the shower three or four months into treatment. And because of the treatment, I was bald from head to toe. I was on my hands and knees sobbing, just absolutely weeping, pulling chunks of hair out of the drain so the water could go down. And I was also thinking because I was getting ready for school that day, and that’s when my hair came up all in that one time in the shower. And I was thinking about what my friends may have been doing at the same time, getting ready for school the same time I was.
Sean: And they were probably worried about the latest hairstyles being popular. If things that in my mind, looking back at it now, were trivial, it meant nothing because there were nights I went to bed not knowing if I was going to wake up the next morning. I mean, can you imagine what it feels like being terrified to close your eyes and fall asleep because you don’t know if you’re going to wake up. And that’s that’s what I had to deal with as the 13 year old. So I grew up with a completely different perspective. And thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, family support, prayer just in a will to move forward. I guess if I walked out of the hospital, a hairless, happy, bloated young man and I, I went back into being a quote unquote normal teenager, I guess if there is anything that’s that you can say normal for a teenager. But the remission was short lived because I was going in for a checkup for the first cancer when they found a second cancer completely unrelated to the first one. And in fact, on the apparently I’m the only person to ever had Hodgkin’s and ask start. And the chances of surviving both of those illnesses is roughly the same as winning the lottery four times in a row with the same numbers.
Joe: Radical Krutch.
Sean: So I think I’m a living, breathing, walking miracle, without a doubt, and. I remember going in for a check for that first cancer in one day, they found a tumor on an X-ray. They did a needle biopsy. They removed a lymph node, put in a hip and catheter. They cracked open my ribs, took out the tumor, are put in danger and started chemotherapy less and less than one day. And they diagnosed me with a type of cancer called ASCAN sarcoma. And that’s basically they gave me 14 days to live.
Joe: And this is at age 60.
Sean: 16, so 13, the first cancer, 60
Sean: Percent cancer, cancer, my my whole teenage years were just they were taken from me, from the cancer.
Joe: He’s trying to just picture this in my brain of what happens during those years of like those prom, there’s sports and it sound like you were active before 13 when you were first diagnosed. So you are definitely you look like someone that would be athletic. So you’re missing all of that.
Sean: It’s a green, it just makes me look like I’m.
Sean: Was I was I was incredibly athletic, and I, I think I because I was a swimmer, I started competitive swimming at maybe five or six years old. And I think I still have some records from the 11, 12 age group.
Joe: Still hold it.
Joe: Wow, that is so cool.
Sean: Undefeated in the summer league, went to Nationals numerous times. I loved it, but I also think that’s one of the reasons why I’m still alive, is because I looked at things differently from a competitive angle, and I pushed myself not to be the best, but I always pushed myself to be my best. And that’s what I did, was going through the treatments, I I knew that when I was going through the cancer that I was going to have bad days. And I also knew I was going to have good days. So if today was a bad day, then I just I focused on tomorrow or the next day when I was going to have a good day. And I when I had those good days, I was I was truly living and learning how to be in the present moment.
Joe: Yeah, that’s definitely one of the gifts that would come out of what you went through, which people struggle their whole life to eliminate the noise around them and to be present. Right. Because you literally only have this moment right now. So many people worry about what’s on the schedule for tomorrow or the future or all of that. And some people even and I’m totally guilty dwell on the past. So I should have done that different. Where would I be today if I had gone left instead of right? So it’s it’s really hard to bring that in to be present and figure out how to do that. And I would assume that’s a that’s at least a good outcome of what you went through, is that it forced you to live every day the most that you could, knowing that this just this who knows what tomorrow will bring, if anything. Right.
Sean: Absolutely. I mean, one of the things that I do every morning before I even get out of bed, the instant I open my eyes in the morning, I don’t I don’t I never hit the snooze, because if you constantly hit the snooze over and over and over again, you’re telling yourself subconsciously, I’m excited about the day. The day can wait. But if you turn it off and I actually have a smartwatch and just vibrate so it doesn’t wake up my wife. So I turn I turn the alarm off and I lay there and I tell myself the past is done. There’s nothing I can do about it. Tomorrow may never come, so no matter what happens today, today is the best day ever. And I have a choice, we all have a choice to make that day turn out however we want it to, and it starts with that morning intention.
Joe: Also, I don’t want to get too far because I had so many questions. This is exciting. Like I said, I’m not going to let you go. So 16. So you’re you were diagnosed and you’re going through all of these treatments. When do you become and for lack of a better term, quote, normal where they say, OK, we’ve we’ve clobbered this thing, you’re you’re in remission and your hair is growing back. You’re starting to feel like average every day. 16 year old, our seventh year, however long it took for you to become being normal.
Sean: That’s a great question, and I was I was thinking, while you’re talking and I honestly want to say that the answer is never.
Sean: Because no one’s ever had these cancers before. No one no one knows what’s going to happen to me.
Sean: I go in once a year for a checkup and they obviously for the past 20, 30 years now, it’s come back clean. So I literally see every time I go into to get my blood work done at my annual checkup, I see it as I have another year left. And I try to accomplish as much as I can in that year, so I don’t think because of the way I’m looking at it, I don’t think I’ll ever have a normal life.
Sean: This is my new normal. And I’ve just adapted to I think because of everything I’ve been through, I’m comfortable with being uncomfortable. So when when things are going well for me, I’m like, oh, something’s going to happen.
Joe: Yeah, so that was I was going to ask you that I just turned fifty nine and I don’t envy having that fact for lack of a better term, that cloud hanging over my head, knowing that I went through something, I beat it.
Joe: But there’s always the chance that it’ll rear its ugly head. And so people that have to live with that
Joe: Sort of pressure on them, that has to take its toll. I would I would assume it has to take its toll depending on how you deal with it. Right. And with everything. When you wake up, you have the choice of saying this is going to be a great day. It’s going to be a bad day. And for some reason and you can help me with this and hopefully the listeners will really heed your advice on this is why do we always choose the negative part? Like everyone, people just love to complain about how their job sucks so they don’t have enough money or whatever the case might be. And if they and I listen, I’ve gone through my whole life having sort of this always this negative thing, like, why didn’t I ever reach this goal or that goal or this accomplishment? And I’m hard on myself about it. And I also know I didn’t do the work to potentially get to some of those goals. So I’m starting at this ripe old age admitting to myself, OK, you just didn’t put in the time. But now I’m only in the past few months I’ve really shifted my frame of mind to say I literally have everything that I need know. I love my life. I I love the person that I live with. Joellen, my life partner I love. I have everything that I need. And why would I just complain all the time of all the things that I don’t have? And our mutual friend David Meltzer says you literally have to get out of your own way and let the universe deliver to you the abundance that’s there. And we actually get in the way of making that happen. So why don’t people choose the negative? That’s what I want to know.
Sean: Absolutely, and I honestly, I was thinking of a couple of things, one. We do have we have we do have a choice, and when people start to get anxious, when people start to worry about things, it’s because of of two words. What if. What if this happens, what if that happens? What if this happens? What if I get cancer again? But you learn to to realize that for me, it was a it was a house of letters. It was a six letter word that that I was allowed to have power over me. So. And recently, it’s funny you mention that recently you were thinking of this, that with because I’m doing the same thing recently, I’m realizing that this word cancer. Had so much control and power over me because I allowed that to happen. And then I realized, why am I freaking out over a word? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I completely respect cancer and it can be deadly and it oftentimes is. But it’s the word that’s making me freak out when I go in for my annual checkups. It used to be smelling sailin that would make me think of all these traumatic things that happened in my past. But it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again. So when I realize I’m asking myself, what if. I’m projecting into the future and I’m giving my brain permission to go crazy, to come up with any any cockamamie imaginary thing that I can come up with. So when I when I think of my my treatments or what I think of my annual checkup and I constantly, constantly ask myself, what if I realized, well, what if I get cancer, but what if I don’t?
Sean: Perfect example.
Sean: So I realized that the word itself means nothing. It’s what I’m actually placing on that word and how I react to it. So when people hear cancer, they’re like, oh, wow. But if this is what I did, I spared myself in the mirror and I said cancer about 50 times over and over and over again. And slowly it lost its power over me. And around thirty five or forty times I looked at myself laughing, what the hell this is? This is crazy. But it’s lessened its power over and over and over. You just can’t cancel. The more you hear about it, the more you get rid of it, you know, the less power it has over you.
Sean: And then why people are focused on on the negative so much. I think it’s because unconsciously, people are allowing their brains to be programmed by outside sources. If you look at it, most people probably I would say 80 to 90 percent of the world, the first thing they do when they wake up, they grab their phone, they check their emails, they go on social media, whatever it might be. Either they do it before they go to the bathroom or while they’re going to the bathroom. It’s one of the. And what happens is if you’re not paying attention to what you’re consuming, because there’s that old saying of you are what you eat, but in all honesty, it is you are what you consume.
Sean: So if people are constantly consuming this, this this false information from the media and with the media, let me turn on the news. You don’t have to watch it for more than 30 seconds to realize it’s going to be depressing
Sean: Because it’s the same stuff all over and over and over again. You have to wait through, what, 60 different stories to see one positive story that takes a point zero five percent of the hour long program. So what people are doing is they’re allowing their brains to be programmed by outsiders, outside sources. That outside source is just constantly bombarding their brain with negativity. However you can you have a choice to, like, wake up in the morning and have a positive affirmation, today is the best day ever. I write down my, my, my daily affirmation and I write down three things that I’m going to do and three things I’m going to try to do or and then at the end of the day, as opposed to turning on the news, I get my journal and write down five things I’m grateful for. So I’m essentially bookending my day on a positive note as opposed to, I would say, most of the world they book in their day on the negative note.
Sean: So if you’re constantly being bombarded in allowing negative thoughts into your brain, how do you think it’s even possible to be positive?
Joe: Yeah, it’s I don’t know if you hit it on the head and it’s just it’s it’s letting all of that stuff come in from the outside. You have a different perspective for what you went through. And and I think people just take for granted that they’re alive and healthy and have a roof over their head and all of the simple things that we just don’t we don’t think about. And it’s important to take a step back and look at that. And instead you take what if and you say, what if all of this stuff went away?
Joe: Where would I be right? Or what if all of this stuff tripled and double that? I had even more abundance because of this, this and this. But it seems like what you wish for, what you think about when people concentrate on the negative things, more of that stuff, it’s just
Joe: It’s just naturally happens. And I was doing it for so long. And now that I’ve shifted, it’s just completely changed. And it’s I don’t know if it’s because it’s so hard to understand that you can do that with your own brain and your own inner power to shift your mindset. And people, though, that’s all that fufu stuff. And it’s not. It’s and I think that’s why it’s so hard to explain. It’s so hard to get people to just give it a try. Just 30 days. Just think towards the most positive thing you can think of. And every day just try to eliminate as much negativity in your life will change. And
Joe: It’s just really hard for people to understand, I think.
Sean: And I think that I mean, there are some there are a large percent of the population who think they’re still positive when they’re actually being negative to the brain and they don’t even realize it. So a perfect example. You’re walking down the street and you’re telling yourself, don’t trip, don’t trip. You’re going to fall on your face, but if you turn it around it from a different perspective and you tell yourself, stand tall, stand tall, walk strong. When entrepreneurs when people go into the stock market, whatever it might be, I guarantee you they don’t think, oh, I don’t want to lose money. No, that’s state. That’s that. People are thinking, I’m being positive. No, they want to make money to focus on what they want. And that’s exactly what happened when I was in the hospital. The story of that 13 year old who was 60 pounds overweight in the bottom of the shower floor. Like I mentioned before, I didn’t I didn’t focus on not dying. I focused on living. I mean, can you imagine how it would have turned out if I kept telling myself, oh, don’t die, don’t die, don’t die or climbing Everest. Hey, don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t don’t stop. And same thing for runners and people doing anything athletic. I guarantee you people who are so don’t stop, don’t stop as opposed to make it to that spot. And then when you make it there, make it to the next spot. Same thing in life. People are saying never quit, don’t quit your brain, just quit
Sean: As opposed to make it to that milestone, make it to the next milestone, make it to the next day. Make it to the next day. Keep pushing forward.
Joe: Yeah, that’s a great point, and that’s what I think really people should take away from this section of what we’re talking about is that even when they talk about visualization, right, it’s like you’re you your body, your brain does not know whether or not you’ve accomplished something or not. Right. So why not tell it the best story you can write? Why not say that? I, I, I’m like, visualize you’re on top of Everest. Like just visualize it until it happens. Right. It’s just so you have to tell your own, your own body the best story possible. And I think that’s this portion of what we’re talking about should be a lesson to say your your body, your brain and your body is listening. So make sure you tell the right story. So can you take us back to your 16? You’re going through all this. What’s the next phase in your life?
Sean: A wild and crazy college life
Joe: Ok, where was that?
Sean: That was in Westminster College, and I think looking back at it, because my my teen years and my high school years were taken from me, have
Joe: You’re going
Joe: To make up for
Sean: Have you ever seen a movie Animal
Sean: There you go. And I was Bellucci. I had a wonderful time
Sean: And I wouldn’t change a thing. And I started off molecular bio thinking I was going to cure cancer by splicing genes. And I took organic chemistry and immunology. And it’s it’s pretty difficult to pass those classes when you don’t open a book and study. So. So I actually switched to psychology because I was taking a an introductory psych course while I was going through the immunology class. And I really found it fascinating. And I started thinking, oh, well, maybe there’s something here where I can help cancer patients and cancer survivors move on with their lives because it’s not an individual disease. It affects everybody in the family thinking, OK, well, I have this great insight. Took the GRE, went to Jacksonville, Florida, to go to work on my master’s and my doctorate. And then some things happen. I was working for different jobs, trying to go through my doctorate, which is just ridiculous. I mean, just to focus on education. Wow. So at some point I decided that I hadn’t dealt with my own issues. Because of what I went through, I never even considered what cancer did to me and how I wanted to quit on the other end, because in college I just I left it behind. I didn’t even bring it up. I mean, there I dated some girls and I was thinking, OK, well, how do I bring up that? I’m a survivor. It’s not like, you know, dinner conversation. Oh, you know, how how how’s your wife and how is your dinner? Oh, I had cancer. You know, he just
Sean: Can’t do that.
Sean: So I was so worried about I didn’t know what to do. I just I just I forgot about it. So then in grad school is thousands of miles away from Ohio. And it was the first time I actually stopped and looked myself in the mirror and ask myself those deep questions, you know, who are you? What do you want from life? What’s your purpose? So I just did some deep, deep understanding of who I was, and then I realized, OK, I had been given a tremendous gift of the mind body connection, and I wanted to help and give back to cancer patients in the cancer world. And that’s what I did, more research and more research and kept getting bigger and bigger and thinking higher and higher and like, OK, well, how about we use the biggest platform of the highest platform in the world to scream? Hope the guy. Great. Let’s let’s go climb Everest. Moved to Colorado just because, like the highest point in Florida is the top of the for the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami.
Sean: So I moved to Colorado, Rocky Mountains
Joe: I love.
Sean: Because I know I don’t know too many mountaineers who live in Florida.
Joe: No, no, but it’s also.
Sean: So I moved to Colorado and I trained in and literally nine months later flew over to Kathmandu, Nepal, and headed up Everest as the first cancer survivor to some of the highest mountain in the world.
Joe: So what year was this and how old were you?
Sean: Well, that was that was 2002, I actually submitted May 16th at nine thirty two in the morning. So night again almost 20 years ago, 19 years ago. I was twenty seven at the time. That’s right.
Joe: Did this with nine months of training.
Sean: Nine months of training and when I first. Well, when I first moved to Colorado, I didn’t even have any support. My brother came with me. We lived out the back of my Honda Civic and we camped in Estes Park for two months before we even got a sponsorship.
Joe: Oh, my gosh.
Sean: So we were I remember one morning we woke up, we were going to go climb, I think it’s one of the Twin Peaks in Estes Park and we got about two feet of snow in August. And I was thinking to myself, because we’re living in the car, that camping, it’s like, the hell am I doing here?
Sean: What did I get myself into? My my office was the library and a pay phone bank. So I was calling corporations like Ghatak and Karvelas in the Northeast saying, hey, I’m a two time cancer survivor with one lung and I’m going to go climb Mount Everest in 10 months and I need your help. Ninety nine doors closed in my face.
Joe: Really, that’s
Joe: So surprising that your story is so unique that that one that triggered people to say yes more often.
Sean: But they didn’t think it was even possible.
Joe: I guess,
Sean: They thought
Sean: It was physiologically impossible to do that with half your lung capacity, so they like, like I said, nine out of 10 people. I mean, hey, you know, this is my story. Click And I thought it was a joke. So
Sean: I. I actually have both lungs, but there’s so much scar tissue from the radiation treatment, there’s really no oxygen transfer. Yeah. So
Joe: There wasn’t removed, it was just
Joe: It’s just collapsed or
Joe: If that’s the right term, but
Joe: The scar tissue,
Sean: A perfect term,
Joe: Ok, and this that was from the age 16 to one. A lot of the chemo and radiation was done. That’s when it happened.
Joe: Did you have it? Did you also have chemo and radiation at 13?
Sean: I had chemo the first time and chemo radiation the second time.
Joe: Ok, and so it just affected the one long in the sense that it just created just the scar tissue over
Joe: It where it wasn’t. So
Joe: It doesn’t really work at all.
Sean: Not not really. In fact, in January, I had a little scare, they think it’s a long term side effect from the radiation where I had some spots in my back removed and now I have another another starless by about six inches long where they had to go remove that. But if that’s all I have to do, the first cancer, the second cancer is 16, 17, and the now 46 year old. Cut it out. I’m good.
Joe: Ok, so we are. You said what was the date again,
Sean: May 16th.
Joe: May 16th of two thousand and two,
Joe: And you were twenty seven years old, OK? And so you trained nine months before you decided you said, I’m going to go do this. So you you set aside nine months to get ready for this.
Joe: Ok, so does the training. Is the training the stuff that I saw in some of the videos where you’re you’re pulling a sheet behind you and and whatever, your pull tire’s up a hill and like, how did you figure out how to train for such as that?
Sean: So that was actually when I when I went to the North Pole a couple of years ago, but for training going up to up Everest, there’s lungs Long’s peak, which is 18 miles round trip, and it’s it’s fourteen thousand two hundred and fifty six feet. And I eventually worked my way up to climbing that peak once a week with 100 pounds of rocks in my backpack. So I would train myself and I’ll go up onto that peak and into the Rocky Mountain National Park in a bad day, thinking that a bad day on Long’s peak was probably better than a good day on Everest. And what I do a training for, for anything like the North Pole, the Hawaii Ironman, I did that. I train harder than I think the event actually event is going to be for two reasons. I get my body in shape, my mind in shape, but also I’m thankful I don’t have to train more and I’m more excited about the actual event.
Joe: Right. That’s crazy. So what is a normal when you’re when you’re training for something like that? What what would be a normal day in Sean’s life? What time do you get up? What kind of stuff do you like? I can’t even fathom something like this. I just
Joe: Got done skiing and snowboarding in Utah. I got home last night. I went with the old my oldest friend. We went from elementary and junior high and high school. And
Joe: Our families were friends and his father was my dentist. And so he said, I’m going to snowboard spring skiing. I haven’t been skiing in twenty five plus years.
Joe: Like, come on, let’s go. And I was a good skier a long time ago and yeah, I just can’t imagine what it would take. My legs were shot. So what does it take. What’s Seans the day in the life of of what you do.
Sean: Well, I’m going to challenge you again, then, what are you doing July twenty, Fourth to August seven?
Joe: I saw that and I was like, God, I want to do that. So
Joe: Explain. So since you’re talking about. Explain what that is before we talk about your daily routine. So
Sean: Yeah, that would lead into it, because I everybody every year I take a group of Kilimanjaro as
Sean: A fundraiser for cancer charity, and what we do is we actually we pay for a survivors trip. And then it’s the responsibility of that survivor to raise funds for next year’s survivor, kind
Sean: Paying it forward. Anyone can go. We just fund the survivors trip. And this year we actually have enough funds to send to survivors. So I’m hoping with those two survivors, there isn’t. They raise enough funds to take three and twenty twenty two and then maybe five and twenty, twenty three and so forth up to. I’d love to take 15 people, 15 survivors for free every year at
Joe: Wow, that’s
Sean: Costs. But for Kilimanjaro, let’s say I would, I would wake up and about four miles from here we have a set of stairs that are pretty steep and there are two hundred and I live at I want to say sixty, sixty four, sixty five hundred feet. So I’m already an altitude which helps a lot.
Sean: Wake up in the morning before sunrise and eventually I will do that. That set of stairs 10 to 15 times with about 70 or 80 pounds of rocks in my backpack. So you’re talking what, two thousand, maybe, maybe three, four thousand steps up and down in how many stairs are there? The Empire State Building. I think there’s one thousand something so
Sean: Less than I did.
Joe: Right. Wow.
Sean: Then come back, wake my wife up, will do some yoga, eat breakfast, come here to do some work on my laptop, and then I’ll probably either do it depending on the day, either rowing, lifting or running, and then on the weekends go out and do a 14 or something like that and a 14 year, a fourteen thousand foot peak. But I also have a sponsorship through a company called Hypoxic Go
Sean: Where there’s this machine. I call it Arcudi to like R-2 because it’s tiny and it actually filters out oxygen to simulate altitude. So I’ll I’ll do the yoga, I’ll do the rowing machine or and I’m doing this because it’s a mask of
Joe: For those of you who are listening, he’s putting his hand over his face.
Sean: Just randomly. That’s that’s what I do. And I work out, I,
Joe: That’s right.
Sean: I, I’ll do those workouts at home on a mask that’s connected to this machine and I’ll end up doing these workouts at nineteen thousand feet. So what I’m doing is I’m pretty acclimatizing my body because I have to make up for the lack of my right lung because when you get into altitude there’s less oxygen, you know, it’s spread out, spread out further. And when you get to like if we left, if we went from here to the top of Everest, we’d be dead in five minutes just because of the lack of oxygen. So I treat it and I try to pre acclimatize myself. And when we go to Kilimanjaro, I tell people my training schedule and like, I could never do that. Well, remember, you’re training for yourself. I’m training for me and ten other people.
Sean: This if you’re interested, this would be my 21st summit of Kilimanjaro.
Joe: That’s incredible in regards to what you eat, are you like a very strict like is everything that you do? Very strict and regimented.
Sean: Not not everything, I mean, I give myself some leniency sugar during the week, I don’t do on the weekends
Sean: On Easter. Yeah, I have those little malt balls, you know, the Easter Mother’s Day. But for the most part, I mean, no sugar. See, what did I have just for lunch? My wife made a salad. We had some chick like a chicken, homemade chicken salad. We’re very conscious of what we eat. We stay away from the sugars. No. And that means no white pasta, no white bread. I love I’ve always loved broccoli. I just eat healthy.
Sean: Every once in a while I’ll have a burger or steak, but, you know, maybe once a month.
Joe: Beer, a glass of wine, no.
Sean: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I
Sean: Like I actually I brew beer at home too.
Joe: Ok, OK,
Sean: It’s great because when I travel you know, I make the beer, I come back two weeks later I’m like, oh beer.
Joe: There you go. OK, cool.
Joe: So were you afraid going Tavaris like, I can’t I can’t even imagine I’m telling you to sit here and talk with you about this. I I’ve watched like we’ve talked about before, we actually started recording, watched the shows, the different movies or documentaries about it and the getting frostbite and people getting pneumonia and their sister, their body shutting down. And they’re having to have the tip of like my nose is red right now from being sunburned and windburn from Snover. And I’m like, I don’t I can’t even fathom all the things that must go through your brain. And then watching where you cross over on that, I don’t even know what it’s called. You think I know after
Joe: Yeah. The with the ones with the ladders. Right. I don’t know how many of those you have to cross and I just I don’t know. And then the spots where I don’t even know if this is something people point out on the way up or on the way down. But that’s where we had to leave so and so like at the all those things go into your brain and you don’t want to be the weak link in the chain. Something happens to you and then all of a sudden other people have to descend, like, I don’t even know how that works. So, I mean, arriving at base camp must have been just like incredible and scary as hell. I’ve been like, oh, my gosh, there’s no turning back here. It is base camp. And I’m and I said, I’m going to do this.
Sean: I think for me, I obviously was focused on the summit, I wanted to get to the top like everybody else who goes over there, but I think I was more focused on enjoying the whole process because literally when I got to base camp, every step outside of base camp was my personal record for altitude. I had never been any higher than base camp. But so every step was higher than I’d ever been, so
Joe: What is base camp at?
Sean: Seventeen thousand six hundred feet.
Joe: Ok, and you and you’re saying this machine you use change you at nineteen thousand.
Sean: But I didn’t I didn’t have that machine before
Sean: So the highest I have ever been was just around just below fourteen thousand five hundred feet, which is the highest mountain here in Colorado.
Joe: That’s correct.
Sean: And when I got to the summit of Everest, I mean, it was double the whatever, the highest point I’d ever been. But I knew that I was so focused on, you know, you asked me about being afraid, there were times that those little. Negative seeds got planted in my brain, but I didn’t want them. I didn’t let them grow and I was very mindful and very aware of when those thoughts came in my brain, because looking back at the same analogy of that young boy on the shower floor, I focused on living as opposed to not dying. And when I when I was crossing the ladders on on the glass across the crevasses, I wasn’t focused on, hey, don’t fall in the crevasse. I was focused on making it to the next side. And when we passed the dead bodies, I stepped over a number of dead bodies. I just I tried to not ask myself the question, I did this when I got back down. Why did he die? Why would nine? And what’s the difference, like, why would I why would I be worthy and he wouldn’t be. But it’s it’s like anything in life where you just don’t know sometimes. Why did I get cancer? I don’t know. It’s a whole question. Why me? Why me? Well, the fact of the matter is, it was me. So deal with it. Why not me?
Joe: Yeah, I’ve had this conversation with other people on the podcast who have gone through some adversity. I you know, I feel like that adversity has been given, fortunately or unfortunately, however you want to look at it, because the outcomes of things that you’ve learned through what you’ve gone through have created this person, this mental strength, and someone who is very happy day to day or other people, just no matter, they could be having the most amazing life and they still complain. But I feel like, you know, the adversity has been given to people with strength, and I’m not sure if that’s true. It’s something I made up of my own brain because I think I’m such a wimp that I cut my finger. I start like I don’t know how I would deal with what you’ve gone through, what other people around me have gone through. So that’s what’s my own little story, I tell myself. So you just didn’t choose me because he knew I couldn’t handle it, so.
Sean: But but you never know what you can handle until you’re put in that situation.
Sean: And people always say say things like that all the time, I don’t. My God, I have no idea what I would do if I was ever in your situation. You don’t know.
Sean: And you’d be amazed at how much you can actually handle when you are in that situation.
Joe: Yeah, that’s incredible. OK, so you’re at base camp and how many are you in? I don’t know how you travel if there’s 12 or 15 or whatever the number is. How many are there with you going up?
Sean: So, as you probably know, a normal Everest expedition could I mean, it could be 20, 30 people.
Sean: A number of sardars Sherpas, you name it, and clients. I had my brother at base camp, a cook at base camp, two Sherpas and me, and that was it. We were I say I was we were on a shoestring budget, but we didn’t even have shoelaces. So we.
Joe: You end
Joe: Up ever getting sponsorship before you left?
Sean: I did in
Sean: One of
Sean: Them was Ghatak, one was Capello’s, and
Sean: Believe it or not, I didn’t even have a summit suit a week before I was supposed to go up for the top. And just my crazy luck. And I know it’s not like it was by the big guy upstairs, but the north face came in with my my summit suit and it actually said Shantz Warner Everest base camp on the box. And it got to.
Joe: Wow, that’s crazy.
Sean: It’s like two or three days before I was supposed to go up in the sun at my summit suit came in.
Joe: That is nuts. Wow. All right, so when you start out, how long does it. How long should it take you or how long is like the most that you can spend up that high? Like, is there a period of time that you have the summit? And I know it’s due to weather, too, right. You have to sometimes
Joe: Just go. We can’t make the attempt today. The weather is just not good enough. So what did it end up taking you from base camp to summoning Everest?
Sean: So a lot of people don’t understand that when you get there, you don’t go from base camp and go up to Camp One, spend a couple of days there, go up to camp to spend a couple of days there, three, four. Same thing from the south side. We actually there are four camps and then with base camp there.
Sean: So we arrived at base camp April 8th and I summited May 16. So almost a month and a half. The whole time we’re going from base camp up higher, establishing different camps and then coming back down so that that does two things, we go up with a full back, a pack drop off stuff and then go back with an empty backpack, go back up with a full pack your stuff and go back down. So, like I said, does two things. It actually transports the gear and material that we need to each camp, food, gear, whatever. But it also is getting our body adjusted to the altitude.
Sean: So then we would go up and down, up and down, up and down after we established three and then four when when you get to camp for your before you get to Camp four, you pay attention to the weather. And there’s a weather window because everybody has seen that that quintessential picture of Everest with the snow plume
Sean: Blowing off the top.
Sean: That’s because that’s because the sun is puncturing the jetstream, the just
Sean: Tunnels, the summit, two
Sean: Hundred three hundred miles an hour. So it’s impossible to climb on that. So what happens is pre monsoon season, there’s a high pressure system that pushes the jet stream north. And that’s when people sneak up on top of Everest and come back down. So you see on I guess you don’t look on a map, but meteorologists know and they give you a weather window like it’s usually mid-May. For us, it was supposed to be May 15th where the weather window was good. But for whatever reason, that may on May 14th, we were supposed to move to May 15th and go up for the summit. I was at camp three and I was suffering a mild form of cerebral edema, which is altitude induced swelling of the brain. And I couldn’t move. So every single other expedition who was on the same schedules, us went from Camp three, moved to Camp four and went to the summit that night. The next morning, the winds were howling. They came down the aisle retreat, and they lost their opportunity to climb. I slept on an oxygen that day. The next morning we went up to camp for summited on May 16th, a day later, and there was just a slight breeze in the top. We spent about 30 minutes up there to forty five minutes, which is unheard of.
Joe: Who’s medically trained to tell you what’s wrong with you or do you just have to know, like there’s no one is like in your own little group, it’s you just have to know what’s right or wrong with you and how to fix it.
Sean: In my group, yeah, I mean, in other expeditions are expedition doctors, you know, everybody there were we made friends with some people from Brown University who were doing a study up there. And it was it’s actually really funny. They’re doing a study on how the altitude affects the brain. And they gave me this book and I became a volunteer to help with the study. And I was at Camp three when I was acclimatizing and not going up for the summit, but just sleeping at Camp three is going to come back down the mountain like a little Rolodex thing. It’s like the size of an index card and you flip it back and on the front of it, you’re supposed to pick out which object was was different, which which one didn’t belong. And it was like a small triangle, a large triangle, a medium sized triangle and a Pentagon or something like that. Right.
Sean: And so and each each are different. So big, medium, small square in a circle you pick out the circle. But it was funny. So I get up to camp three and I’m radioing down to them. All right. You guys ready to go? Yeah, we’re good. So I flip it over and I’m thinking I’m going to have some fun with this.
Joe: All right.
Sean: So I go page one, the Penguin Page to the House, page three, the dog. And keep in mind, they’re all geometric shapes. So
Sean: I think.
Joe: Right, to the naming of animals, as they say, oh, for.
Sean: It’s like I take my thumb off the microphone and there’s a long silence.
Joe: It’s not.
Sean: And all of a sudden, Sean, are you feeling OK?
Sean: Like, yeah, why, what’s going on? There are no animals.
Joe: That is so funny. Oh, my gosh, they were probably like, oh, we got to get a helicopter up there.
Sean: They were thinking, we need to get emergency up there and get him down off the mountain.
Joe: That is so funny. Oh, my gosh. So is it true that it gets backed up up there when people are trying to summit during a certain season?
Sean: It is now when I was there, it wasn’t as bad
Sean: And also. A few years ago, there was a big earthquake and there used to be a section called the Hillary Step,
Joe: Yep, I
Joe: Remember hearing.
Sean: So it used to be a chunk of rock that used to hang out. And literally, if you took six inches off to your left side, you would plummet a mile and a half straight down. And there was that section where only one person could go up or one person could go down at a time, and that’s where the bottleneck usually was. So with the earthquake, what I’ve heard is that there’s no longer a Hillary step. It’s more like a Hillary slope now because that giant rock has been dislodged. But from the obviously you saw a picture from a couple of years ago that just that long queue of people, apparently it’s getting a little out of control.
Joe: And that’s crazy. Would you ever do it again? Do you ever care about doing it again?
Sean: Well, as is my family or my wife going to hear this this time, I don’t know if it calms down and it becomes less popular, I honestly would I would like to attempt it again without oxygen to see if it’s possible to climb Everest with one lung and no no supplemental oxygen.
Joe: Who was the guy that did it with no, nothing.
Sean: Reinhold Messner, he’s climbed, yeah, and then there’s also a guy named Viscose who climbed the 8000 meter peaks. So it’s been it’s been done numerous times, but the first person who did it was Mesner. I believe.
Joe: No oxygen, it just all right. Yeah, I don’t want to get you in trouble with your wife, so we’ll just, well, not talk about it anymore, OK? I’m telling you, I can sit here and talk to you forever, and I want to respect your time. I don’t want to run too far over. So besides everything you’ve done every day, the tallest peak on every continent at this point, is that true?
Sean: Correct. Still the seven summits,
Joe: Ok, and then along with that, you have this series of books that you’re doing. Can you explain what that’s about, what people find when they give each one of those books?
Sean: Oh, sure, yeah, it’s actually it’s in the infant stages right now, but it’s called the Seven Summits to Success. And I just signed an agreement with a publishing company. We’re producing we’re publishing the first one which is conquering your Everest, where it helps people bring them kind of into my life and understand how I’ve done what I’ve done, not just what I’ve done, what I’ve done, not what I’ve done I’ve done, not what I’ve done, but how I’ve done what I’ve done.
Sean: And it’s also it’s very similar to what I just I put together called the Summit Challenge, which is an online series of individual modules, seven different modules walking people through. Utilizing their own personal core values to accomplish things like self actualization, and at the end they essentially find their purpose and it came from the concept and the idea where after a keynote presentation, so many people would come up and say, that’s a great story, but a handful would say, that’s a great story. And then followed up with a question, but how did you do it? And then looking at Kilimanjaro again, the average success rate on the mountain is roughly forty eight percent, meaning fifty two people out of 100 don’t even make it to the top. And like I said, this this July with my twenty first summit with groups and our groups are at 98 percent success rate, double that of the average. So I was thinking, OK, well what’s what’s the difference? And the difference is I’ve been subconsciously imparting what I’ve learned going through the cancer because my first goal was to crawl eight feet from a hospital bed to the bathroom, and then I ended up climbing twenty nine thousand feet to the top of the world. So all those little things, those little insights that I’ve learned, I’ve been imparting on people in my groups. So we do something every day that’s different to help people get up there. In the main, the main understanding that they get is understanding what their personal core values are. Because once you hold fast to your personal core values and you have an understanding of a deeper purpose, nothing is going to get in your way.
Joe: So in that kind of brings us back to when you left college and you decided that you’re you’re camping with your brother and then you decide you’re going to do this thing to Everest. Right. Was that the beginning of this this portion of Shawn’s life where you’re going to do these things? But now there’s an underlying what’s the word I’m looking for this an underlying mission, which is you’re you’re doing this, I guess, because you like to challenge yourself. Obviously, you just want to you’re so happy with the fact that you have been given this chats with
Joe: With what happened to you. You’re going to make the most of it. So here I am, Sean Zwirner. I am so grateful that I went through two different types of cancer that easily either one of them could have killed me. One of them ruined one of my lungs. I’m still living. Not only that, but I’m going to make the most of every day. So you go to Everest, you do this, you accomplish that, and then you say, OK, that that’s that’s it. You went for the biggest thing on your first run. You would start out small. You just like, screw it, I’m going to Everest. And then after that, all these other things would be cakewalks, and I’m sure they’re not. But then you did all seven summits. And now, though, is it the underlying mission is that you are you are the voice of cancer survivors and and what you do and I don’t want to put any words in your mouth, so stop me at any moment. But is it like you’re doing this to to to provide hope for them to say, listen, I not only did it twice, but I am living at the highest level of accomplishment and and I don’t know what there’s so many words I can think of that you just you want them to all think the same way, just keep pushing forward, get the most out of life. And I’m here to support you. And look at me. I’ve done it. I’m not just spewing words from a stage. I’ve literally gone out and done this. So I want you to be on this journey with me, both mentally, physically, if you can. Does that make sense or that I just destroy it?
Sean: No, absolutely, I I wouldn’t I wouldn’t personally profess that I am the voice of survivors if others want to think that that that’s great. But I wouldn’t I wouldn’t declare myself that. But I have found a deeper purpose. And it did start with Everest, because when I made it to the summit, I had a flag that had names that people touched by cancer on it.
Joe: Yeah, I saw that, yep.
Sean: And that was always folded up in my chest pocket, close to my heart as a constant reminder of my goals in my inspiration, and I planted a flag on the top of Everest. I planted a flag on the seven summits, the highest on every continent. And I also planted a flag at the South Pole and most recently at the North Pole. And I think it initially started. With the concept of I don’t want to say infiltrating the cancer community, but getting there and showing them exactly what you said, you know, being up on stage and saying, hey, I’m not just talking the talk, I’m walking it as well. I know what it’s like being in your situation. I know what it’s like to have no hope. But I also know what it’s like on the other side. And I also know what it’s like to scream from the rooftops that there’s there’s a tremendous life after after cancer and it can be a beautiful life. So a lot of people who and like I said, it started off with cancer, but now it’s it’s reached out to anybody who’s going through anything traumatic, which is with the state of the world, is it’s everybody now. So with with any uncertainty, you can use that, especially with my cancer. It wasn’t the end. It was the beginning. So what the world is going through right now, it’s not necessarily the end. It’s not uncertainty. How we come out of this on the other side is entirely up to us. And it’s our choice. And we can use all the trials and tribulations and turn that into triumph of success if we want. It is all based on our own perspectives.
Joe: So you come off of Everest and then there’s your life now become this person who is going to continue to push themselves for because you obviously want to live this amazing life and you don’t you just do love the adventure. You love the thrill of the accomplishment. I’m sure all of that stuff that any of us would love, like I went skiing for three days of twenty five years. I’m glad I’m still alive. Sit and talk
Joe: Because trust me, I wasn’t the guy you were talking about walking down the sidewalk and say, don’t trip down. I was like, you’re fifty nine. You break a bone now you’re screwed, you’re breakable. And I’m going over. These moguls go, oh my gosh, why am I here? How did you survive? How does someone like that survive financially? How do you survive financially that you now did that? Does that start to bring in sponsorships and endorsements and book deals and speaking deals, or is it just the snowball that happens? And how do you decide that this is the path your life is going to take?
Sean: You would think so, and I’ve been approached by numerous corporations where the conversation went, something like me telling them, well, I really can’t use your product up in the mountains and doing what I do. They say, OK, we’ll just take the money we’re going to give you by which you really use but endorse our product. So if I went if I went down that path, absolutely, I would be living the high life.
Sean: But because I’m a moral and ethical person, I think.
Sean: It’s not nearly what you probably think it is, I don’t have people banging down my door for a movie. I don’t have people banging down my door for a book. And I think it’s because most of the media that we see on television is is paid for media. And every time I reach out to a production company or a marketing company or a PR company, they’re usually the first question is what? What’s your budget? OK, well, how about the story? How about helping people? Because like I said, every morning I write an affirmation down, in fact, or was it just yesterday was I will give more than I receive. I will create more than I consume. And I think most people who don’t understand that think that you’re living in a state of lack. And maybe I am. But I’m also incredibly grateful for everything we have. And do I want my story out there? Absolutely. But I don’t need to make millions and millions of dollars on it. And what I what I want to do is take those millions and millions of dollars and take cancer survivors up Kilimanjaro every year. I’d love to do that three or four times a year. So I’m always looking for people who can who can jump in here and help me out and share my story with others to give back to help people and help them believe in themselves and help them find their purpose, their their inner drive, their inner.
Joe: Is this is going to sound so stupid, so forgive me, so when you do this, this trek up Kilimanjaro, you do it in July, right?
Sean: Yeah, yeah,
Sean: People should arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport July 20 for.
Joe: Ok, is it cold up there?
Sean: It depends. That’s a it’s not a stupid question,
Joe: You were going to
Joe: Be like, yeah, it’s it’s it’s however many thousand
Joe: Feet. What do you think, Joe?
Sean: But that would be like me asking you, hey, what’s it like in snowboarding? What’s it going to be like in snowboarding? July? Twenty Fourth. Twenty twenty three. I mean, you have a rough estimate.
Sean: So in going up Kilimanjaro, it’s one of the most beautiful mountains I’ve been on because you go through so many different climactic zones getting up that you start off in an African rainforest where it can be a torrential downpour. It’s always green, but it could be a torrential downpour or it can be sunny and the sun kind of filters through the canopy and you’ll see these little streams of light coming to the camp, which is beautiful. And then the next day, it’s it could be sunny or rainy, but it goes through so many different zones. You just have to be prepared for each one summit night. However, yes, it’s tremendously cold. It can be zero degrees or maybe even minus 10. But with the right gear, you’re going to be fine. I mean, there’s there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad year.
Joe: Well, here’s a good question, and if someone was to go on this is how do they get that gear that they have to buy all that stuff?
Sean: You can you can purchase it or you can rent it over there. I’ve used the same group of people for the past 18 months, and if you’re if you’re never going to use a zero degree sleeping bag again in your life, just rent it for 30 bucks. You don’t spend three hundred four hundred dollars to buy one. Or if you do buy one and you’re never going to use again, give it to my friends, the Sherpas of who use it all the time.
Joe: Right, so basically somebody’s going on this could, when they arrive there, get everything they need to make it happen.
Sean: Well, except for your boots and your underwear, you probably don’t want to rent me underwear.
Joe: The point well taken. OK, go. So I want to ask you about the Big Hill challenge.
Sean: So great, the big Hill challenge is actually an abridged version of the summit challenge, so some challenges this really in-depth twenty one week program where you take micro challenges and utilize something that you learn and just incorporate into your daily life. The Big Hill challenge is going to be a three week challenge where I take a group of one hundred people at a time and work them through three weeks of little micro challenges to help them along.
Sean: And they’re both based on understanding and utilizing your personal core values.
Joe: Perfect. And these can be found on your website.
Sean: Yeah, you can go to the summit challenge dotcom event eventually, you can go to the Big Hill challenge dotcom,
Sean: But every
Sean: One or dotcom.
Joe: Ok, great, because I’ll put all of this in the show, notes and everything else, I wrote this question down because I wanted to make it clear that besides your website, Shawn
Joe: Swane or Dotcom, you have the cancer Climategate.
Joe: Can you explain can you explain that site to me and what the goal of that site is?
Sean: So cancer climber, cancer climate Doug is actually the organization my brother and I founded that funds trips for cancer survivors to kill javu.
Sean: And actually, if we raise, my goal is to raise about two million dollars to have a mobile camp for kids with cancer.
Joe: Wow. That’s
Sean: You there are camps all over the country, all over the world, but oftentimes you can’t get the survive or you can’t get the patient to the camp because of the compromised immune system. So I thought, well, what if there’s a semi truck that brings the camp to the kids?
Joe: Hmm, that’s interesting. That’s a really cool. And the reason I ask about coming on being cold is because Joel in my my better half of 20 some years survived breast cancer. It was lymph node sort of stuff. So taken out and be like God. But she hates the cold like she I would be so cold to do something like this with her. She just literally I mean, I don’t know if she would go the last section to the summit because her cold do not mix. She’s so happy here in Arizona and she never complains about the heat. So
Joe: That’s the only reason I ask that. So.
Sean: My wife was born and raised in Puerto Rico,
Sean: Forty forty years of her life, and she went with me.
Sean: She did. She hated the last night, but she’s so happy she didn’t.
Joe: So it’s really just the one night that’s the
Joe: Coldest. So it’s one night out. How long does it take to get from where you started out in the rainforest to the.
Sean: So the whole trip itself is a seven day trip up and down the mountain summit on the morning of the 6th, we leave the evening of the 6th, and then after we come off the mountain, we actually go we fly into the Serengeti and do a four day safari to the Serengeti.
Joe: And when you’re staying on the way up to the summit, or is it just like caps right
Joe: There? Oh, so that’s it. There it is.
Joe: That’s right. So the people that are listening to this on the podcast, you’ll have to look at the YouTube video later. But he’s showing me the actual
Joe: Tents and. And is everybody carrying their own tent?
Sean: No, I actually, because I’ve been there so many times, we pay two porters per person to haul your gear up and all you have to worry about is your day pack some water, snacks, showers, your camera, sunscreen, hat, stuff like that. I don’t want anybody carrying anything more than, say, twenty five thirty pounds up the mountain, but the sort of porters will actually give them the leave. After we leave camp, they’ll pass us on the way. They’ll get to the next camp before us set up camp for us. We’ll have a dining tent, we’ll have a cook tent, we’ll have all of our personal tents ready to go. All you have to do is just find your bag, your quarterback, get your sleeping bag, your sleeping pad, set up your your inside of your tent and go to the dining tent and have some dinner.
Joe: And it’s crazy and they pass you after you’ve already left.
Sean: They’re they’re unbelievable. I mean, these guys are just insane
Sean: Pound for pound, they have to be some of the strongest people on Earth.
Joe: That’s just insane. OK, is there anything that I missed because I literally have gone 15 minutes over, I could go another two hours over. This is every summit I would want to talk about and I would want to talk about any of the super, super unique things that had happened. But again, I’m sorry I went over because I hate not respecting someone’s time when we said an hour. But I’ve been so waiting for this conversation, you can imagine. So is
Joe: There anything that I miss that you want to talk about? Mention what? Can you can you mention what the cost is to do the trip to Kilimanjaro?
Sean: Yeah, it’s seventy two hundred bucks, and that includes the hotel, that includes the food, that includes the seven days on the mountain, that includes the SSAFA, that includes the flight to the SSAFA. That includes the safari lodges. That includes everything except international airfare tips and your personal items.
Joe: So you basically get there and home on your own dime, but
Joe: When you’re when you when you land, everything else is covered except for tips and and anything you might want to buy somewhere.
Sean: And a bottle of wine, beer bottle, water, whatever,
Sean: Exact souvenir, stuff like that.
Joe: But everything else, because all the food that the porters are carrying and cooking
Joe: Is all
Joe: So seventy two hundred dollars per person, and then how does somebody sponsor cancer survivor if they just go to cancer? KLEINBERG And there’s a place there that they can do
Sean: There will be right now it’s on Facebook and I can send you the link, because what we do is with the fundraiser, we add people like you were just mentioning certain someone who like
Sean: The cold.
Sean: We add names of people touched by cancer on a flag that we take up. And that’s one of the main fundraisers that we have. And it’s on a flag of hope. And if you if you want to see a replica of that, it’s actually so there’s a film on Amazon called TrueNorth The Short Story. It’s about my expedition to the North Pole. And what we take up to the top of Kilimanjaro is actually a replica of what I took to the North Pole. And we we handwrite names of people touched by cancer as we’re going up the mountain so everybody and everybody gets a chance to carry it. It gives everyone a purpose. And I think that might be one of the reasons why we have a 90 percent success rate.
Joe: That’s great, and how many people usually do you can get at something for
Sean: Don’t yeah, I don’t want it to be more than 50 people because I’ve taken a friend of mine, he had a group and he couldn’t go one year. He had 30 people on the trip. And it was just it’s weird. Everybody reverts back in high school, form certain clicks and want to be with this group. But you know what? And 15 people. That’s perfect. You can you can you can mingle, you can network. You can talk to people. You can get different stories. It’s much it’s much more intimate that way. And that’s what I really like.
Joe: Very cool as your wife going again.
Sean: She actually with with her she has an online company called Origins Accessories, dot com, where it’s women’s accessories and for each sale, a portion of that goes back to support an orphanage near the base of.
Sean: So she’s like, yeah, last year she didn’t go with the year before when she climbed the two years ago and then last year she had enough funds to support a hundred orphans at the Hope Orphanage for an entire year with food.
Joe: That’s incredible.
Sean: So she wants to go back again this year, not go up the mountain, but she
Sean: To know that she’s not just wants to help the orphanage. Well, while I’m taking people off the mountain.
Joe: That’s awesome. Very cool. OK, my friend, this has been something really, really special for me. I can’t even explain and I really appreciate your time. I’m going to make sure I have everything in the show notes and we’ll get this out and spread the word. And, man, I’d love to have you back at another time to talk about more and more of this, but this was really special to me. I appreciate it.
Sean: Oh, my my pleasure. I mean, you’re worried about going over time, like I was once giving a presentation for a bunch of Type A personalities at a luncheon and the lady warm nature is like when we hit, let’s say whatever was one o’clock, you’ll see some people getting up to leave because they have to go back. They feel like they have to go back to work. And I was wrapping up. I had maybe five minutes left and I saw maybe four or five people stand up, start walking out. And I literally stopped what I was doing. And I said, you know what? At one point in my life, I was given 14 days to live. What’s an extra five minutes of your time?
Joe: Yeah, so true, but, you know, I I’m like, you know, maybe you’re going to get your hair cut or something and I don’t want to hold,
Joe: Though. All right. Well, thanks, man. I really appreciate it. Let’s stay in touch. Anything I can do to help, just let me know. As soon as I get this all scheduled and done, I’ll let you know when it’s going to be posted and then we’ll just go from that. But I really appreciate your time. Your incredible.
Sean: I appreciate that. Thank you very much. Very grateful for your time on the platform to share my story.
Joe: Absolutely. Thank you so much.
Sean: Thank you.