Ethan Zohn, 'Survivor' winner, undergoes stem cell transplant to treat cancer
"Survivor" winner Ethan Zohn recently underwent stem cell therapy for his Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Zohn, who is often considered one of the most-liked "Survivor" contestants, received a transplant from one of his brothers on Wednesday, February 29, according to People magazine. Zohn's cancer was first diagnosed in 2009. He was in his 20th month of remission in September 2011 when he heard the news that the disease had returned.
The real life survivor's girlfriend, fellow "Survivor" contestant Jenna Morasca, Tweeted about her boyfriend's surgery to ask for support prior to his stem cell procedure.
"Today @EthanZohn gets new stem cells & new canzer free life FOREVER! And we get our lives back. Send positive healing vibes #getbetterethan," she Tweeted on Wednesday.
Morasca also told People that even in his situation, he's aiming to beat records.
"Ethan asked the doctor what was the record time for getting out of here, so he wants to beat that," she said. "His doctor said there was no prize, and Ethan said, 'Yes, there is. You're going to tell the other patients that I made it out in three weeks.'"
Zohn took to his official Twitter page to express his appreciation for the recent support from his family and fans.
"Today I leap into a healthy new body," he Tweeted on February 29. "Today is the start of the rest of my life. Thank You to my bro Lee & all who have supported me. Love!"
He also said: "Thanks @JennaMorasca for being by my side. Love you."
Zohn is currently staying in the same ward where he was first diagnosed with the disease, and his girlfriend told the weekly magazine that it was difficult for the pair.
"No one wants to come back here," Morasca said. "Even though the nurses and doctors are wonderful, this is one place where you really don't want to see anybody ever again. Then starting the chemo and being attached to a pump that you're going to be attached to for the next three to five weeks made it very real."
Zohn began dating Morasca following her victory on "Survivor: The Amazon" in 2003. The couple participated in the 19th season of "The Amazing Race," but were eliminated in the second episode, which aired on October 2, 2011.
Zohn was first diagnosed with the rare CD20-positive Hodgkin's lymphoma in April 2009 and started chemotherapy the following month. After three months of chemotherapy, his cancer returned in September 2009, but following a stem cell transplant, he received a clean CT scan in April 2010. In September 2011, the 38-year-old soccer pro told found out that his cancer had again returned.
Despite finding out only months earlier that his cancer was back, Zohn ran and finished the New York City marathon on Nov. 6, 2011. He ran the marathon to raise money for Grassroots Soccer, an organization he co-founded.
The couple remains optimistic about Zohn's treatment and recovery and even created a Twitter account called "Ethan's Bubble" which depicts his situation from the perspective of his "bubble," or room. The pair's friends can access it to create light-hearted jokes about Zohn's situation.
Zohn jokingly Tweeted about his "bubble" himself, saying: "At least I have one thing in common with @ethansbubble, we both like to watch the US Mens National Team crush Italy. Go USA."