An Obscure Flower Helped TV Reality Winner Licks Cancer
Work with nature to survive
BORN in Lexington, Massachusetts on November 12,1973, Ethan Zohn competed and won the reality show competition “Survivor Africa” in 2001. In the reality contest he and fellow competitors were left to themselves and expected to live off the jungle and come out whole, alive and kicking.. Ethan realized that to survive such a hostile and unchartered environment would mean learning to work with- rather than- against nature.
Nature teaches the way
They learn to use thorny acacia plants to drive predators away from their camp. They drank from the same watering hole as elephants and giraffes do, calculating the best time to drink and how to get out of their way.
For Ethan nature was a good teacher. And as a reward for surviving the African jungle, he pocketed the price of $1 million and the confidence that he could survive any given challenge.
The drug from a flower saved him from the cancer
Unfortunately on that April 30. 2009, he was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma and it proved that the confidence he gained from “Survivor” was more valuable than the million dollars he bagged from the live show. Not even the trials he had experienced could have prepared him for the gravest battle of his life.
In May 2009 Ethan underwent chemotherapy drugs which wracked his body for months. Sensing a ray of hope from the treatment, he was consoled to learn that one of the drugs given him came from an African flower, the ROSY PERIWINKLE.VINCRISTINE- the drug that came from this flower was part of the regimen that saved his life. His cancer is now in the state of remission and once again he owed his survival to working with nature
Soccer teams to promote HIV education
Ethan played at Vassar College as soccer goalkeeper. He played professionally for the Hawaii Tsunami and Cape Cod Crusaders of the United Soccer Leagues and for the Highlanders Football Club while in Zimbabwe. He donated a part of his Survivor $1 million winnings to start-fund GRASSROOT SOCCER a global soccer community he pioneered to address the spread of HIV-AIDS in Africa. For his concerted efforts to spread HIV education throughout Africa by way of soccer teams for the youths- Ethan received the Courage of Conscience Award from the Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Massachusetts.
87% of drugs for treatment of known diseases came from nature
He averred his case isn’t an isolated one. It is revealed that some plants produced anti-cancer agents as chemical defenses. Scientists knew this years ago and claimed 80% of all anti-cancer drugs possess an active ingredient from nature. This trend holds true with other diseases as well- with half of the new drugs created in the past 25 years derived from the natural world.
As revealed in a new study- natural drugs and related products are used to treat 87% of all known diseases, including cancer, heart diseases, diabetes and HIV.
16,000 plant and animal species face extinction
But natural sources of this drugs and products are fast vanishing. Researchers have made known the biochemistry of the SNAKEROOT plant to improve the treatment of hypertension but the plant is presently threatened by deforestation in Indonesia. Scientists have extracted a compound for treating chronic severe pain from a cone SNAIL in the Pacific coral reefs. But sorry to say that its habitat is threatened by destructive fishing practices and marine pollution. Pollution, over-fishing and climate change likewise threatened the natural habitat of the MARINE SPONGE which generates the first anti-viral medication approved for the treatment of HIV-AIDS.
According to the World Conservation Union- more than 16,000 species-plants and animals alike- are in danger of extinction, largely because of human activities. Scientists sounded the alarm that two-thirds of the world’s 10 million species could face extinction by the end of the century.
Protection of natural resources as sources of drugs to save lives
Given this ever increasing destruction of rainforests, reefs and other natural habitats around the world- we must take action today- as there’s no telling how many useful undiscovered natural compounds we could lose for tomorrow, suggested Ethan.
ETHAN ZOHN had won both his battles against the trials in “Survivor Africa” and the dreaded cancer, but in either case- he said- he didn’t do it alone. In his adventure in the African jungle- he was saved by a watering hole and in his fight for life against cancer, he was saved by an obscure African flower.
He won both challenges with nature on his side. Now he’s working hard to protect natural areas that will provide the sources of drugs that will save millions of lives in the future. Presently- he works with the Alliance for Global Conservation to raise awareness of the links between International Conservation and treatments for deadly diseases.
Activities to pursue their goals:
- To raise additional funds for the cause of spreading HIV-AIDS awareness among the Africans, he started a 500-mile soccer dribble from Foxboro, Massachusetts to Washington, D.C on August 20. 2008.
- Both animal lovers- sweethearts ETHAN ZOHN and JENNA MORASCA posed in the nude with nothing but leaves to cover their bodies- to coordinate with PETA's "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" campaign.
- Ethan has invented a cereal bowl which is claimed to keep breakfast cereal "crunchy" and not soggy.
- Currently- he resides in Norwich, Vermont where he likewise works at Grassroot Soccer United. (CNN; Wikipedia)