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Sean Swarner was the recipient of the Don't Ever Give Up Award presented by the Jimmy V Foundation and ESPN in 2007. He is a two-time cancer survivor who was first diagnosed at age 13 with Hodgkin's Disease and later with Askin's sarcoma. He was given just two weeks to live in 1990 and is believed to be the only person in the world to ever have been diagnosed with both these deadly cancers. Sean told ESPN Radio's Bob Valvano, brother of Jimmy, that he would have been more likely to win the lottery four or five times than to have survived both these cancers.
However, he did survive, although he has only one fully functioning lung due to the removal of a golf ball-sized tumor found with the Askin's diagnoses. He graduated from Willard High School in Willard, Ohio, in 1993, and Westminster College in 1997.
Sean was featured on ESPN (July 27, 2007) with a 10-minute segment on his life story and struggle. He established his own foundation (The Cancer Climber Association) which promotes cancer awareness and helps raise money for cancer research. He also authored his book Keep Climbing, which recounts his story and journey from the depths of his near death experience to the peaks he climbed to reach the top of the world 17 years later.
On October 11, 2008, Sean completed the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, HI with a final time of 11:44:15.