Ethan Zohn, the 2002 winner of Survivor Africa and all around amazing human being who used his winnings to start a charity, has been diagnosed with cancer, specifically stage two Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and started chemotherapy Friday.
He was diagnosed last week with “a rare form [of] the disease called CD20-positive Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,” which was discovered “after months of unexplained itching and night sweats, originally thought to be a skin condition,” People reported.
“This is the ultimate game of Survivor, and there’s really only one outcome, and that’s to win. There’s no other option. … I’ve got good family and friends, and I’ll roll with the punches as it comes to me. That’s how I work in life. I’ll take it on like a real game of Survivor,” he told the magazine. “I’m not getting voted out of this one.” Although chemo means losing his signature hair–”My hair is my identity,” he said–he’ll be shaving his head. “I’ll get a mohawk or something fun that I’ve always wanted to do.”
Both Ethan and his girlfriend Survivor Amazon winner Jenna Morasca both lost parents to cancer; in the fall of 2004, they did a charity cruise to raise money for cancer research. Jenna told the magazine, “I will fight with every fabric of my being to get him through this.”
Ethan retains his good sense of humor–he joked that his chemotherapy port “looks like I have a third nipple right now. You can call me trip-nip!”–and will use this situation for good. “This is happening for a reason. You have to get spiritual about this [stuff]. I know I want to help people and inspire people. That’s my purpose in life. So I need to use this as a platform,” he said.