Ethan Zohn – TV and Reality Survivor
What does it take to be a survivor? For Ethan Zohn, it has taken a variety of things – from drinking a mixture of cow’s blood and cow’s milk in Kenya to fending off his brothers’ backyard power balls to taking a cocktail of cancer treatments.
Along the way, Ethan has brought the complex gift of survival to 500,000 young children through the simple game of soccer.
$1 million prize
While Ethan may be most famous for winning $1 million on the reality show “Survivor: Africa,” it’s what he has done with this money – and his passion – that is even more impressive.
Since winning “Survivor” in 2002, Ethan has turned his soccer skills and celebrity status into humanitarian efforts impacting thousands of African kids at risk for HIV and AIDS.
While playing professional soccer for the Zimbabwe Highlanders FC team in Africa, the on-field experience was enriching, but the off-field experience with HIV and AIDS was devastating.
After returning from Zimbabwe, he was selected for “Survivor: Africa.”
Anyone who has watched any episode of “Survivor” knows that it is not easy to keep yourself alive, get along with others and keep from being voted off the show. With a $1 million prize as an incentive, Ethan used many soccer skills to eventually be named the winner.
Ethan explained, “The key aspects of the game like teamwork, camaraderie, performing under pressure and competition were important. You have to achieve the goal, and you have to win. But, it was important for me to come home with my values and honor intact.”
During the show, Ethan found himself in a hospital parking lot playing hacky sack with a bunch of kids. When he asked why these kids were at the hospital, the answer startled him. They ALL had AIDS. This shocking fact gave Ethan a new reason for winning “Survivor.” He wanted to help prevent more kids from suffering this terrible fate.
Ethan now channels his skills into Grassroots Soccer, a charity organization he helped co-found with Dr. Tommy Clarke that educates African kids about the dangers and prevention of HIV and AIDS. So far, 498,000 youth have been educated. By the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the goal is to graduate 1 million African youth from the program.
Ironically after dedicating so much time, money and energy to HIV and AIDS, Ethan was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2009. He was treated, went into remission, and 20 months later the cancer returned and he underwent chemotherapy and an allogeneic stem cell transplant.
Today, Ethan is recovering from the aggressive treatment that has left him physically weak but mentally more committed to raising money and awareness for Grassroot Soccer and his Zohn FC charity.
Ethan encourages involvement, “Go out there and find out what makes your heart break, and then do something about it using the sport of soccer. Everyone has the power to make a difference.”
Submitted by Anonymous
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