Meet HOPE Summit Keynote Speaker Sean Swarner

Nick Baker, Web Experience and Content Manager
Sean Swarner smiling while backpacking with his accomplishments listed

Read time: 2 minutes

Sean Swarner is taking the stage Saturday, May 4, to kick off HOPE Summit 2024. He’s a two-time cancer survivor—diagnosed at 13 and 16 years old—and each time was told he only had months or weeks to live. But at 27 he climbed Mt. Everest with just one lung and later became the first cancer survivor to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents. 

As inspiring as his story sounds, Sean isn’t joining us to highlight the amazing feats he’s accomplished. 

“I share my story because I want to show I’m relatable. I want what I say to resonate with someone on a personal level and empower them to act on their core values. Whether those values are their family, health, or sport, I want to empower, not motivate or inspire,” says Sean. 

Not everyone will climb Mt. Everest. But everyone has a Mt. Everest to climb.

Before Sean started climbing and completing extreme physical challenges, he went through a period of “wanting to leave cancer behind.” Everyone around him knew about his past and looked at him as the boy who had cancer. When he left for college, he decided that part of him wasn’t coming with. 

After a few years, he realized the path he was going down wasn’t the right one.  

“It was scary to look in the mirror and ask myself the hard questions of who am I, and what do I want in life. I realized being alive doesn’t mean you’re actually living.” 

Since then, Sean has decided to celebrate his life and encourage others to do the same. 

“I like talking with people because you never know who you can reach or what life you can change. Sometimes people tell you, but many times you’ll never know you changed someone's life,” says Sean. 

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