KATMANDU, Nepal - Sean Swarner has survived cancer twice, scaled the world's highest peak and is now looking forward to his next challenge — climbing the highest mountain on every continent.
"I am going to climb all the seven highest mountains on the seven continents. I don't know how (long) it will take, but I will do it," Swarner told The Associated Press in Katmandu on Friday.
Swarner, 27, of Estes Park, Colorado, was among the record 61 people who stood atop the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit of Mount Everest (news - web sites) on a single day, May 16.
Unlike most of the climbers, Swarner was breathing the thin air with a right lung partially damaged by radiation from cancer treatment.
"I was very lucky," he joked after being told he had a few weeks to live. "I have the world's worst good luck."
Swarner almost didn't make it to the summit. Just a few days before the attempt, he became sick at Camp 3, at 7,300 meters (23,950 feet). He could not walk in a straight line.
"I was ready to quit and come down, but after a day of rest I was ready. I did not give up and I never do," Swarner said.
Climbers often become dizzy and faint, common symptoms of high-altitude oxygen deprivation.
Swarner was among the first batch of climbers to crowd the top of Mount Everest on May 16, when a break in the bad weather allowed a quick rush for the summit.
"It was a beautiful day and the view was spectacular from the summit," he said.
Swarner was just 14 when he was diagnosed with a severely advanced stage of Hodgkin's Disease. He was expected to live three months.
After 18 months of chemotherapy, the cancer was declared to be in remission.
Months later, a golf ball-sized tumor grew in his right lung, caused by a rare form of cancer called Askin's disease. Doctors told him he had two weeks to live, but he beat the disease after months of radiation treatment.
"I want to show cancer patients that there is life after cancer and there is hope," he said. "If I can do it other people can, too."
He said his organization, Cancer Climber Association, based in Hilton Head, South Carolina, raises money for cancer research and education of patients.
Mount Everest has been climbed more than 1,000 times since Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal conquered it on May 29, 1953. About 180 people have died trying to scale the mountain.
Fri May 24, 2:55 AM ET
By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA, Associated Press Writer
On the Net:
Cancer Survivors: http://www.cancersurvivor.org