Q&A Exclusive: Two-Time Cancer Survivor Ethan Zohn

U.S. Soccer player and two-time cancer survivor Ethan Zohn is lending his voice to the third annual “Stand Up To Cancer” (SU2C) broadcast Friday, Sept 7.

Zohn, along with stars like Emma Stone, Matt Damon, and Tay Swift (among many others!), is taking action to raise awareness about a disease that currently affects millions of Americans. Check out our amazeballs interview with the 38-year-old.

How has your cancer diagnosis changed your life?

Being a two-time cancer survivor reminds me of this one absolute truth — that with all our differences, we all have one thing in common — we’re all survivors on this earth for a short period of time. But it’s not about when or how you leave this world; it’s WHAT YOU DO to make the most of each day and of each crisis while we’re here. We are here to not only survive, but to improve our lives and the lives of others.

What is one message you want to get out there about the disease?

Statistics can numb us to what the real issues are. But these are not just faceless numbers. They are your friends, family, co-workers, and teammates. This is the face of cancer that the world needs to learn about. And its organizations like SU2C that are able to take this message to the masses and initiate change so that more lives are saved through cutting edge medical research. The work that these doctors and scientists do on a daily basis is saving the lives of real people like me. I’m living proof.

Can you tell me about Grassroot Soccer?

Years ago I lived and played professional soccer in Zimbabwe. I witnessed firsthand how one disease, HIV and AIDS, was destroying this community I was now a part of. I saw the pain and suffering and had compassion for all those touched by a single disease. With the prize money I got from winning the reality show “Survivor,” I helped co-found Grassroot Soccer with three other soccer buddies of mine. Grassroot Soccer uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV. We are on target to graduate 1,000,000 kids by World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

What advice do you have for teens that want to get involved/take action?

To make happiness real for others is truly the greatest gift. You have the power to make a difference. Figure out what makes your heart break and then do something about it. Follow your heart, fight for a cause, and see the hope that is born in someone else’s eyes because of something you were able to do for them.

Get involved with our upcoming campaign, Give A Spit, and save the life of a bone or blood cancer patient. GO