You Can Survive! What Overcoming A Rare Form of Cancer Can Teach Us All

Sean’s motto is “WE CAN-CER-VIVE”, said out loud that is Can Survive! What can we all learn from Sean’s experience fighting and overcoming a rare form of cancer at such a young age? Do we curl up and give in to the difficulty and seemingly unfairness of our situation? Do we loose all hope for a future because we are faced with difficulty and challenge that seems unforgiving? Sean tells us,
[blockquote]”The hard times do not define us. Just remember to take them head on. Continue to live your life the best you can. Fight through those times, even if it requires blood, sweat and tears. Trust me, I know how hard it can be. But those painful experiences have been some of the most fulfilling times of my whole life. You can take comfort in looking at people around you because we are all FIGHTING our own battles. We all have trials, but it is my belief that we “can-cer-vive” anything that life tries to throw at us. Just remember that life is whatever we make it. I choose to make it good, cancer and all!”[/blockquote]

On January 15th for our Academic Experiential Activity, Sean Lee visited our students to present his story of overcoming a rare form of cancer. He was a high school student body president, captain of the football team, and an Eagle Scout. (You can read his full story here: (

He was quite humorous and able to capture the student’s attention. He met with them for about two hours and could have gone longer due to the numerous questions every student asked him. The students were able to hear his story of getting diagnosed with a synovial sarcoma tumor, which is a rare form of cancer. (KSL, a local news station, did a story on him, which you can find here: Sean’s Story

He reported his tumor was the size of a soccer ball and shared his experience of going through chemotherapy. He was able to connect with every one of our students and was even asked about his thoughts around suicide. He was able to address all of their questions in a vulnerable and honest manner, saying he had thoughts of suicide, yet was able to address it and work through those dark thoughts.

The wonderful thing about his presentation to the students is that he talked about how we all have some challenges in life and if we haven’t faced it yet, we will face it eventually. Cindy Lindsay, our Academic Director, said regarding the presentation, “I loved how he owned it from day one, he didn’t try to hide the fact he had cancer. He faced it.”

One of our students asked, “So are you saying that we can be like that?” because many of our students didn’t believe that they could become somebody in their life due to their past. Sean talked about doing research on people who had struggled in their life, which he shared each of their stories, some of them famous people the students would know. These stories shared the principle that people can live their lives in a way where they didn’t accept the fact of being mediocre; that they believed they can be someone great and didn’t have to settle for anything less.

Sean had the boys write down their own challenges they would like to overcome, gave wristbands to each of our students, shared his experience of having a 5K in his name, and was able to answer all the student’s questions.

Overall it was a successful and great Academic Experiential Activity that Cindy Lindsay was able to organize for our students.

*The religious content from the blog was not discussed during the presentation to respect the various religious and non-religious preferences of our students.

Each Friday, at the direction of our Academy Director, Cindy Lindsay, our academic department puts together an Academic Experiential Activity for our students to help them think outside the classroom and participate in hands-on learning. Look for upcoming blog posts of other activities with our Academic Department.