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True North: The Sean Swarner Story

Airs Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Sean Swarner.

Credit: Courtesy of The Workshop

Above: Sean Swarner. "True North: The Sean Swarner Story" is a powerful documentary about the strength of the human spirit and one man’s determination to spread a message of hope to those touched by cancer.

“True North: The Sean Swarner Story” is a powerful documentary about the strength of the human spirit and one man's determination to spread a message of hope to those touched by cancer.

The film follows inspirational adventurer and two-time cancer survivor Sean Swarner on his quest to reach the North Pole and become the world's first cancer survivor to complete the Explorer's Grand Slam — scaling the highest point on all seven continents and then hiking to the North and South Poles.

Only a handful of people have ever done it, but no one against the overwhelming odds Sean faced.

True North: The Sean Swarner Story: Trailer

“True North: The Sean Swarner Story” is a powerful documentary about the strength of the human spirit and one man’s determination to spread a message of hope to those touched by cancer. The one-hour film follows inspirational adventurer and two-time cancer survivor Sean Swarner on his quest to reach the North Pole and become the world’s first cancer survivor to complete the Explorer’s Grand Slam—scaling the highest point on all seven continents and then hiking to the North and South Poles. Only a handful of people have ever done it, but no one against the overwhelming odds Sean faced.

In his 42 years, Sean has overcome incredible challenges-beating cancer twice. When he was 13 years old, Sean was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma and given three months to live.

A year of radiation put the cancer in remission.

But nearly two years later, he was diagnosed with a second form of cancer called Askin's Sarcoma. It was unrelated to the first and with a prognosis of just two weeks to live, Sean was read his last rites.

He was the only person in recorded medical history to have both Stage 4 Hodgkin's and Askin's Sarcoma cancers, and spent an entire year in a medically induced coma.

Sean survived, but only with one fully functioning lung.

From that point forward, he was on a mission to prove that anything is possible. He made history by becoming the first cancer survivor to climb Mt. Everest.

Photo credit: Courtesy of The Workshop

Sean Swarner (left) with another climber in a tent. "True North: The Sean Swarner Story" is a powerful documentary about the strength of the human spirit and one man’s determination to spread a message of hope to those touched by cancer.

Realizing that no mountain would ever be too high, he scaled the highest peaks in Africa, Europe, South America, Asia, Antarctica, Australia and North America.

He conquered the lRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii, and then survived a grueling trip to the South Pole.

Now, only one more remote place awaits him-the North Pole.

To reach the North Pole, he must ski, snow shoe, climb, traverse mounds of ice as big as houses, and struggle with air temperatures that hover around 40 degrees below zero-all while towing a 300 pound sled of supplies for nearly 500 miles.

Photo credit: Courtesy of The Workshop

Sean Swarner pulling supplies. "True North: The Sean Swarner Story" is a powerful documentary about the strength of the human spirit and one man’s determination to spread a message of hope to those touched by cancer.

Throughout the trip he carries a message of hope: a flag with the names of people who have been touched with cancer which he unfurls at the top of the world.

Using archival footage and intimate interviews, "True North" documents Sean's early years and the cancers that almost killed him, as well as his preparations and training to hike to the North Pole.

Photo credit: Courtesy of The Workshop

Sean Swarner (right) with fellow climbers. "True North: The Sean Swarner Story" is a powerful documentary about the strength of the human spirit and one man’s determination to spread a message of hope to those touched by cancer.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION:

"True North The Sean Swarner Story" is on Facebook, Instagram, and you can follow @TrueNorthAPT on Twitter.

Sean Swarner is on Facebook, Instagram, and you can follow @SeanSwarner on Twitter.

CREDITS:

Executive Producers are Tom Farrell and Todd Donnelly. Director/Producer: Tommy Caamano. Director of Photography: Igor Kropotov. Second Camera: Corbin Johnston. Distributed by American Public Television.

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