Survivor Ethan Zohn Takes On the Log Challenge for Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness

June 9, 2020
Jessica Skarzynski

Former Survivor competitor, and winner, Ethan Zohn talks with CURE about his journey with cancer and raising awareness for patients with leukemia and lymphoma.

Ethan Zohn is a survivor in more ways than one. Not only did he win Survivor: Africa back in 2002, but he also overcame a rare form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma twice after being first diagnosed in 2009. Now, Zohn is teaming up with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on their Big Virtual Climb by kicking off the Log Challenge, which he spoke with CURE about in a recent interview.

Each year, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosts a Big Climb in San Francisco at the Salesforce Tower, where participants climb up 61 flights of stairs to raise awareness and funding for blood cancer research. With COVID-19 threatening large events like this, organizers pivoted to a virtual event, and asked for Zohn’s help in putting his own spin on the event after his recent appearance on the 40th season of Survivor earlier this year.

In Survivor: Winners At War, 20 of the most popular winners of the show were invited back to compete for a prize of $2 million. But Zohn’s experience during one challenge inspired him in a surprising way.

“During the show, I competed in a challenge called the Log Jam, where I had to race across sand and rocks and up a giant mountain to collect 20 logs, one log at a time,” Zohn said. “At log 16, I passed out. They called in medical and I had this whole big thing, all on the TV show! And the other contestants, these three women that I was competing against, and that I thought would kick me while I was down — because, listen, we're competing for $2 million in this huge game show on national television – the exact opposite happened. They stopped, they picked me up, and they carried me up the last part of that hill to finish the race.”

Inspired by this moment of empathy and compassion from fellow competitors Natalie, Amber and Danni, Zohn joined the Big Virtual Climb and created the Log Challenge.

To participate, simply register online, then on June 13th, pick up a log — or branch, or stick, or even a cell phone displaying a photo of a log! – take 200 steps and perform 20 step-ups with your log, and repeat 20 times.

“I encourage everyone out there to join me and join my tribe, a bunch of my other friends from survivor season 40 are joining me as well,” said Zohn. “And we're just going to have an incredible fun time for the whole family on June 13.”

No proof of participation is required, but organizers invite challengers to take video or photos of the event and share on social media using #BigVirtualClimb and #ClimbConquerCure.

All proceeds of the event will support blood cancer research, advance lifesaving treatments, and provide patients and families with hope, guidance, education and support.

“Join our tribe. Help raise awareness and critical funding to vote cancer off the planet.”

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