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With only one functioning lung, a prognosis of fourteen days to live, and being in a medically-induced coma for a year, Sean Swarner is the first cancer survivor to stand on top of the world… Mt. Everest. Sean has broken through defined human limitation in order to redefine the way the world views success.

Sean was diagnosed with two deadly, different, and unrelated forms of cancer, once at the age of thirteen and again at the age of sixteen. After an incredibly poor prognosis, and being read his last rites, Sean astounded the medical community when he survived both these brutal diseases. He realized that after defeating cancer twice, no challenge would ever be too great, no peak too high.

Sean proved his theory when he crested the peak of Mt. Everest. As the first cancer survivor to do so, Sean decided to continue climbing and has since topped the highest peaks in Africa, Europe, South America, Australia, Antarctica, and North America, thus completing the “7-Summits”.

With the completion of the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, Sean has his sights on trekking to the Poles at the top and bottom of the world.

As Sean continues to defy the odds, test his own endurance and inspire and motivate people around the world, he shares his message of healing, hope, and triumph with cancer patients worldwide. Sean also serves as a source of inspiration as the founder of the non-profit organization, The CancerClimber Association, as author of the book “Keep Climbing,” and as a motivational speaker to corporations, universities, and other organizations around the globe.

Sean Swarner will continue to Keep Climbing and defy boundaries in order to change the way people think. He has been called the most powerful speaker ever by such companies as IBM, Roche, Amgen, and countless organizations and universities around the globe. He has an uncanny ability to empower people to climb their own Everest in both life and in business. After hearing Sean speak, your life will never be the same.

Sean Swarner ON Speaking Back to top


...We always have a choice to react to anything that happens to us – good or bad. Based on that, there are no obstacles or problems, only opportunities.

SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn/take away from your presentations?

SWARNER: It depends on what the talk is about. I recently had one at Google, where the focus was on perspective and choice, and how we always have a choice to react to anything that happens to us – good or bad. Based on that, there are no obstacles or problems, only opportunities.

SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event? How do you prepare for your speaking engagements?

SWARNER: I ask as many questions as I can to get a full understanding of the situation, people, and event where I’m speaking. That way I can make it more relatable, powerful, memorable, etc.

The night before I have my own ritual, but the day of, I try and engage with as many individuals as possible to keep it as personable as I can. I love meeting people and hearing their stories!

She had gone to the conference with a suicide note, knowing she wasn’t going home. She had pills and alcohol in her room to kill herself that night, but during the day when she went to my talk, it hit her on such a personal level, she claimed that I had saved her life.

SPEAKING.COM: Have you had any particularly memorable speaking engagements / unusual situations arise while on the road?

SWARNER: There are two that immediately come to mind. In the first situation, I was finished speaking and meeting people in queue to talk to me. A lady who had been crying and had mascara running down her face, came up and latched onto me in a hug. She composed herself to tell me that in the last 6 months, she had lost both her son and husband to cancer, and, moreover, been diagnosed with cancer for the 3rd time. She had gone to the conference with a suicide note, knowing she wasn’t going home. She had pills and alcohol in her room to kill herself that night, but during the day when she went to my talk, it hit her on such a personal level, she claimed that I had saved her life.

In the second case, I was speaking in a huge conference room at a hotel when the fire alarm went off in the middle of my talk. Everyone was looking at me to tell them what to do, so I said, “I can see the headlines now: ‘Man climbs Everest, highest mountain on every continent, skis to the North and South poles, overcomes two deadly cancers, and dies in hotel fire.’ We should probably go.”

SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?

SWARNER: Anyone willing to listen. Honestly, it resonates with audiences ranging from corporate America to high school students. That’s the beauty of how I deliver the presentation; it’s very relatable, with poignant messages throughout.

SPEAKING.COM: Which of your keynote speaking topics are your favorites and why?

SWARNER: Redefining Impossible. It gives people an insight to how they too can do something they once thought was impossible.

Someone once told me that if you have an amazing story and a gift, but don’t share it with the world, that’s a tragedy.

SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements?

SWARNER: Someone once told me that if you have an amazing story and a gift, but don’t share it with the world, that’s a tragedy. I wanted to inspire others to make the world a better place one person at a time.

SPEAKING.COM: How do you keep your audience engaged and actively listening during your keynotes? Do you use case studies, personal stories and/or in your speeches?

SWARNER: Every presentation is different, but I’m always asking the audience questions to directly engage them. I’ve used studies, personal stories and other things in my talks. Something tells me videos of walking over a ladder spanning a crevasse on Everest are going to grab anyone’s attention.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the successes you've helped clients achieve?

SWARNER: Anything from having a record sales year to defining a new tag line to quitting their jobs and spending time with family. (One of my clients was actually a billionaire who regretted not being there for his children.)


Sean Swarner Speaker Videos Back to top

Keynote Speech


Sean Swarner, Motivational Speaker: Interview


Sean Swarner, Motivational Speaker: Interview, Overcoming Obstacles


Sean Swarner Introduction



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


Keep Climbing
As featured on ESPN, this journey will take you through a dynamic, custom-tailored audiovisual presentation, you will climb with Sean to the top of the 29,035-foot giant that is Mount Everest (surviving hurricane-force winds and crossing crevasses thousands of feet deep on rickety aluminum ladders). You will venture along into the grueling journey of his youth and witness his fight for survival as he overcomes two bouts with cancer. Finally, you will trek with Sean as he takes you along to the highest peaks in Africa, Antarctica, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.

Sean’s story takes you on a journey that is not only inspiring, but offers a message of hope that taps into that motivational adrenaline rush that runs through all of us. Sean reveals a life of limitless possibility as he details the seemingly impossible boundaries he has conquered, battles he has fought, and peaks he has climbed; all motivated by an astonishing inner strength and super-human like physical endurance.  Step into Sean’s world and venture back into your own life believing not only in the durability and strength of the human condition, but you will believe in yourself, your own strength and your own ability to achieve anything.



Sean Swarner Speaker Testimonials Back to top

"This is, without a doubt, the most inspirational story I’ve ever heard…"
– NBC

"Sean is one of the best speakers in the world. You can book him to change your life and motivate you forever, or you can go with the lesser speaker and be motivated for a few days. We’re definitely glad we went with Sean. Sean’s presentation gave us such a unique way of seeing ways to achieve our goals and has been the best speaker we’ve ever had. His steps to success and tools are the most amazing way to get you out of your comfort zone and to where you want to be."
– IBM

"Sean’s visit and presentation were superb! He did a terrific job, I got a few very positive email comments back, and best of all: he got a standing ovation at the end. I told him – not every presenter gets that visible appreciation."
– American Society of Clinical Oncology

"I would like to extend our most sincere gratitude and appreciation to you for your speaking event. Your story was an inspiration and motivation to all. We could not have asked a more appropriate individual to deliver such a message of such hope, determination, and success. Thank you for taking the time to come. Our expectations were exceeded by not only your speech but also the way you took the time to interact with anyone and everyone."
– Brainlab, Inc.

"Sean is the first and only speaker from one of our annual meetings to receive all high ratings!! There was not one negative comment which I think says a lot about Sean and his story."
– Hematology-Oncology Managers of New York

"WOW! I have to tell you I usually get very impatient during motivational speeches at business conferences because it is difficult to switch my brain between the two kinds of thought processes but I was very engrossed by Sean’s story."
– Queens Medical Associates, PC
"This entire experience has been excellent, and I am so happy that it turned out the way it did. It was such a pleasure working with Sean. It was easy to plan and book. Thank you so much! Sean was amazing! He was so humble and kind. Loved his sense of humor as well. He has such an amazing story, and it was so good to hear it. His presentation was excellent. He touched and inspired everyone in the room that night. Everyone I have spoken to about the event only had positive comments to say. They enjoyed the night, had fun, and absolutely loved meeting Sean and hearing his story. "We have talked a lot about it on the unit floor and amongst the committee, and everyone was so impressed with Sean and his presentation. I heard a lot of comments about him being so humble and kind, and that seemed to impress everyone! We both really enjoyed meeting Sean and getting to know him a bit. Huge thanks once again to Sean for making this such an incredible experience for myself, the committee, and for everyone that attended the event."
– Red Deer Regional Hospital (Red Deer, Canada)

"Sean, your presentation was uplifting and inspiring! We have already received awesome feedback from those who attended! Thanks again!"
– Rosenfeld Cancer Center (Abington Health/Memorial Hospital)

"Voted One of the World’s Top 8 Inspiring People of all Time"
– ODDEE

"Sean is truly an amazing inspirational speaker. He relates so well to the needs of patients and gives everyone the courage to overcome diversity and excel in whatever they truly want to achieve."
– Assistants4You

"I loved your talk at the event. It was the most inspirational talk I’ve ever heard. You gave me hope!!"
– Rainbow Valley Charity Health V Cancer 2013 Attendee (Glasgow, Scotland)

"He was a perfect fit for our program, and we are so proud that he was able to join us. We were blessed by his story and know thousands of others will be too."
– HTC, Inc.

"Everyone really enjoyed the presentation, and I am still getting great feedback about it! Looking forward to the Colorado’s Best segment, and the staff is really excited about the segment…"
– KDVR FOX 31 & KWGN CW2

"We are all extremely grateful to him for coming over and speaking, but also staying all weekend and contributing in so many ways – this meant so much to the young people attending the conference and many of them have let us know this. His talk was the highlight of the weekend for many of them, and getting to meet him afterwards made them feel so proud. For me, the best moment of the weekend was seeing Chris’s eyes light up as he talked with Sean."
– Teenage Cancer Trust (London, United Kingdom)

"We couldn’t have asked for a better start to our program, and he put the icing on the cake."
– Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

"Sean was very well received at both events and he made an impression on at least one of my young adult patients. She said, 'He just gets it.' I suspect he left a strong impression on a lot of people."
– Seattle Children’s Hospital

"I think that he is a very engaging speaker and that he did a great job. Many of the parents told us that they thought he was wonderful and loved him. I can’t stress enough how much we appreciated having him participate and we thought he was awesome. What an inspiration!"
– Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders, Children’s Hospital Colorado




Exclusive Interview with Sean Swarner

...my emotional attachment to living and drive to survive were key to pulling through. Focusing on living as opposed to “focusing on not dying” made a big difference.
In this interview, motivational speaker, Sean Swarner discusses:
• How he decided to climb Mount Everest after surviving two cancers and losing a lung.
• His Seven Summits for Success.
• Why success shouldn't be our end goal.

* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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Sean Swarner needs 7 vote(s) to make it into the Top 25 speakers on Speaking.com!


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"This is, without a doubt, the most inspirational story I’ve ever heard…"
– NBC

"Sean is one of the best speakers in the world. You can book him to change your life and motivate you forever, or you can go with the lesser speaker and be motivated for a few days. We’re definitely glad we went with Sean. Sean’s presentation gave us such a unique way of seeing ways to achieve our goals and has been the best speaker we’ve ever had. His steps to success and tools are the most amazing way to get you out of your comfort zone and to where you want to be."
– IBM

"Sean’s visit and presentation were superb! He did a terrific job, I got a few very positive email comments back, and best of all: he got a standing ovation at the end. I told him – not every presenter gets that visible appreciation."
– American Society of Clinical Oncology

"I would like to extend our most sincere gratitude and appreciation to you for your speaking event. Your story was an inspiration and motivation to all. We could not have asked a more appropriate individual to deliver such a message of such hope, determination, and success. Thank you for taking the time to come. Our expectations were exceeded by not only your speech but also the way you took the time to interact with anyone and everyone."
– Brainlab, Inc.

"Sean is the first and only speaker from one of our annual meetings to receive all high ratings!! There was not one negative comment which I think says a lot about Sean and his story."
– Hematology-Oncology Managers of New York

"WOW! I have to tell you I usually get very impatient during motivational speeches at business conferences because it is difficult to switch my brain between the two kinds of thought processes but I was very engrossed by Sean’s story."
– Queens Medical Associates, PC
"This entire experience has been excellent, and I am so happy that it turned out the way it did. It was such a pleasure working with Sean. It was easy to plan and book. Thank you so much! Sean was amazing! He was so humble and kind. Loved his sense of humor as well. He has such an amazing story, and it was so good to hear it. His presentation was excellent. He touched and inspired everyone in the room that night. Everyone I have spoken to about the event only had positive comments to say. They enjoyed the night, had fun, and absolutely loved meeting Sean and hearing his story. "We have talked a lot about it on the unit floor and amongst the committee, and everyone was so impressed with Sean and his presentation. I heard a lot of comments about him being so humble and kind, and that seemed to impress everyone! We both really enjoyed meeting Sean and getting to know him a bit. Huge thanks once again to Sean for making this such an incredible experience for myself, the committee, and for everyone that attended the event."
– Red Deer Regional Hospital (Red Deer, Canada)

"Sean, your presentation was uplifting and inspiring! We have already received awesome feedback from those who attended! Thanks again!"
– Rosenfeld Cancer Center (Abington Health/Memorial Hospital)

"Voted One of the World’s Top 8 Inspiring People of all Time"
– ODDEE

"Sean is truly an amazing inspirational speaker. He relates so well to the needs of patients and gives everyone the courage to overcome diversity and excel in whatever they truly want to achieve."
– Assistants4You

"I loved your talk at the event. It was the most inspirational talk I’ve ever heard. You gave me hope!!"
– Rainbow Valley Charity Health V Cancer 2013 Attendee (Glasgow, Scotland)

"He was a perfect fit for our program, and we are so proud that he was able to join us. We were blessed by his story and know thousands of others will be too."
– HTC, Inc.

"Everyone really enjoyed the presentation, and I am still getting great feedback about it! Looking forward to the Colorado’s Best segment, and the staff is really excited about the segment…"
– KDVR FOX 31 & KWGN CW2

"We are all extremely grateful to him for coming over and speaking, but also staying all weekend and contributing in so many ways – this meant so much to the young people attending the conference and many of them have let us know this. His talk was the highlight of the weekend for many of them, and getting to meet him afterwards made them feel so proud. For me, the best moment of the weekend was seeing Chris’s eyes light up as he talked with Sean."
– Teenage Cancer Trust (London, United Kingdom)

"We couldn’t have asked for a better start to our program, and he put the icing on the cake."
– Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

"Sean was very well received at both events and he made an impression on at least one of my young adult patients. She said, 'He just gets it.' I suspect he left a strong impression on a lot of people."
– Seattle Children’s Hospital

"I think that he is a very engaging speaker and that he did a great job. Many of the parents told us that they thought he was wonderful and loved him. I can’t stress enough how much we appreciated having him participate and we thought he was awesome. What an inspiration!"
– Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders, Children’s Hospital Colorado


Keep Climbing: How I Beat Cancer and Reached the Top of the World
The 29,035-foot giant known as Mount Everest tortures its challengers with life-threatening conditions such as 100 mph winds, the dramatic loss of oxygen, snowstorms, and deadly avalanches. Climbers of Everest are faced with incredible dangers, but for Sean Swarner the obstacles he overcame prior to his summiting make his story even more compelling.

Sean isn′t just a cancer survivor; he is truly a medical marvel. He is the only person in the world ever to have been diagnosed with both Hodgkin′s disease and Askin′s sarcoma. He was diagnosed in the fourth and final stage of Hodgkin′s disease at the age of thirteen, when doctors expected him to live for no more than three months. He overcame his illness only to be stricken a second time when a deadly golf ball-sized tumor attacked his right lung. After removal of the Askin′s tumor, Sean was expected to live for less than two weeks. A decade later and with only partial use of his lungs, Sean became famous for being the first cancer survivor to climb Mount Everest.

Sean′s successful summiting of Mount Everest was driven not only by his desire to reach the highest peak in the world but also by his determination to use his accomplishment as a way to bring hope to others facing seemingly insurmountable odds. By showing those affected by cancer how he has conquered some of the most difficult obstacles life could offer, Sean inspires others with the will to live. Living proof that cancer patients can and do recover, his story will encourage those touched by cancer to dream big and never give up. Despite life′s setbacks, Sean believes those dreams are always in reach.

Sean′s story is not just about illness, heartache, and pain; it′s about something greater. It′s about hope. It′s about helping others and never quitting. It′s about personal battles with the elements and coming out on top of the world . . . literally.
Order Here





Keep Climbing
As featured on ESPN, this journey will take you through a dynamic, custom-tailored audiovisual presentation, you will climb with Sean to the top of the 29,035-foot giant that is Mount Everest (surviving hurricane-force winds and crossing crevasses thousands of feet deep on rickety aluminum ladders). You will venture along into the grueling journey of his youth and witness his fight for survival as he overcomes two bouts with cancer. Finally, you will trek with Sean as he takes you along to the highest peaks in Africa, Antarctica, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.

Sean’s story takes you on a journey that is not only inspiring, but offers a message of hope that taps into that motivational adrenaline rush that runs through all of us. Sean reveals a life of limitless possibility as he details the seemingly impossible boundaries he has conquered, battles he has fought, and peaks he has climbed; all motivated by an astonishing inner strength and super-human like physical endurance.  Step into Sean’s world and venture back into your own life believing not only in the durability and strength of the human condition, but you will believe in yourself, your own strength and your own ability to achieve anything.



Keynote Speech


Sean Swarner, Motivational Speaker: Interview


Sean Swarner, Motivational Speaker: Interview, Overcoming Obstacles


Sean Swarner Introduction