RUSH: Here’s Ethan, Hillsborough, New Hampshire. Great to have you on the program. Hello, sir.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: My name is Ethan Zohn. I was the winner of Survivor Africa, the reality show, and I’m also a two-time cancer survivor. And I just want to thank you and all your listeners for funding organizations like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, because, like you and your hearing, I was lucky enough to get a second chance because of a drug that LLS funded at the very time I needed it. So I had two bone marrow transplants, and between the two transplants this new drug emerged on the market, and that was a drug funded by LLS.
CALLER: Yes, it’s pretty ironic. A cancer survivor who was on a reality show called Survivor. (laughing)
RUSH: The show that’s on CBS?
CALLER: Exactly, yes.
RUSH: Yours was Survivor Africa?
CALLER: Yep. One of the earlier seasons, the third season of Survivor.
RUSH: Third season. And you’ve benefited from transfusions or transplants, did you say?
CALLER: Transplants. Yeah, I had a rare form of blood cancer called CD20-positive Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I had an autologous stem cell transplant, which failed. And then I had an allogeneic transplant which kept. And I used my brother, Lee, as the donor.
RUSH: How long were you in treatment?
CALLER: I was in treatment from age 35 to about age 40.
RUSH: Wow. And you went on to win one of those Survivor contests?
CALLER: Well, I won Survivor before I got cancer. I don’t know if there’s a correlation or not. (laughing)
RUSH: Oh. Oh, oh, oh. Well, that’s still impressive.
CALLER: Thank you. But I really do want to assure everyone who’s making a donation today that, you know, the work that these doctors are doing, the work that Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is doing is saving the lives of real people like me.
RUSH: Thank you, Ethan.
CALLER: That’s important.
RUSH: No greater testament could we have. Appreciate that.
RUSH: It is also our annual Cure-A-Thon, where we do what we can to cure the blood cancers: Leukemia and lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, myeloma, all of them. The telephone number for you to contribute, 877-379-8888. You can also donate online very easily. It’s set up at RushLimbaugh.com, at Facebook.com/RushLimbaugh and even on our Twitter pages. If you would prefer to donate that way, you can. We’ve made it easy for you. We have a list of premiums that we are offering, and they are pictured at RushLimbaugh.com: $75 to $99 a T-shirt.
It’s an electric gray T-shirt with the EIB logo. One-size-fits-all. We add an EIB cap to that for a $100 to 384. It’s the one-size-fits-all T-shirt, and the cap — and the cap is good. It’s the EIB 2016 signature logo on it. For $385 and up, you get a polo shirt that is sized, and we’ve gone gray. It’s a gray color scheme this year with a black EIB logo. The hat is black with gray-and-white logo. The shirts come in all sizes on the polo and an EIB cap decorated with the official EIB signature logo for 2016. It’s embroidered on there.
It’s not just, you know, hand-stamped on like some cheap thing you found in knock-offs. It’s actually embroidered, and it’s one-size-fits-all. So this is it. This is our final hour. Actually, I’ve been told that the number will be active throughout the weekend, which is a good thing, because there are replays of this program. This program ends up being used — the best of or segments of it — over the weekend, and it will also be part of the Week in Review, which we do.
So people will be hearing about this throughout the weekend, and it would be silly for the phone number to be dead. Online will still be working through the weekend as well, and this is an accommodation you want to make. Not everybody can respond during these three hours. Even if you’re hearing about it, you might be able to, but there’s plenty of time to do so. I wanted to tell you who our last caller was. We’re sitting here, and Snerdley puts up a guy whose name is Ethan. Where was he calling from? (interruption)
Yeah, somewhere in New Hampshire. Ethan from New Hampshire, said, “Hey, you know,” and he told a story, “I just want to thank you. You’re doing great things here,” and he told his personal story, that he had won the Survivor series one season on CBS and he had needed a couple of stem cell transplants from his brother, a rare form of blood cancer. I’m listening to this, and he’s going on and on about this. It’s incredible. This is… I mean, he’s young guy, athletic. He’s been involved in soccer and so forth.
So we went and looked him up, and his name is Ethan Zohn, Z-o-h-n, and I have a story here from 2013 from the CBSNews.com site. “Just a few months ago, Ethan Zohn couldn’t leave his New York apartment unless he was going to a doctor’s appointment. The reality TV star was facing his battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma head-on for a second time, undergoing treatment and getting rest while his body battled the disease.” Again this is 2013. “‘I am in remission. Today is a special day,’ Zohn told CBSNews.com…
“‘One year ago today I received my brother’s stem cells … my brother was a match. They wiped out my body and infused my brother’s stem cells into my body. So if you take my DNA sample, it’s like my brother.’ The Season 3 Survivor champ is feeling a lot better these days, training for the Boston Marathon and gearing up for Sunday’s Cycle for Survival benefit in New York. It’s a national, indoor team cycle event, held at various Equinox gyms, to raise money to fight rare cancers by funding research led by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center,” which is where our beloved Kit Carson was treated.
This was his event, too. You know, he personified this event. He was here from day one. He was the organizational energy and brains behind it for the entire time he was here with the program, and you should have seen people get in gear when he was diagnosed. And he went through remission for a while. You know, this disease has so many ups and downs. You can’t… Those of you who have experienced it know that the treatment has gotten so promising that there are a lot of great signs, positive signs, and sometimes there’s relapse.
And in the case of Ethan Zohn, he beat it twice. We thought H.R. had beat it. He was just trucking along just fine, for months and months, and then one day you could just tell it was… Well, yeah. You could just tell. It was sad. But it’s really… When you go through these ups and downs and you think that you’ve beaten it, and then it comes back, you just never know. This is why it is so important to support the ongoing research to try to stay ahead of the disease. Ethan Zohn’s experience is like a dream come true. What’s missing from this story I’m sure is how hard he worked. It takes a toll on the patient.
These stories like Survivor winner Ethan Zohn, feeling good. He went through five years of hell, and I’m sure his family did, too. Five years for the payoff. There’s always this lingering fear that it could happen again. His case with the stem cell transplant and the basic sweeping of his DNA and the replacement, there might be less concern. But the reason it says here in the CBS story that he was so “focused his efforts on the cause. ‘The drug that I was on was literally passed by the FDA two months before I needed it.
“‘I was diagnosed in 2009 and the drug wasn’t available and then I relapsed and the drug was available,’ said Zohn, who also competed on CBS’ ‘The Amazing Race’ in 2011. ‘So in those 20 months I was in remission, the drug came to fruition and was able to be used and helped save my life. … Actually getting the diagnosis is almost a little bit of a relief because with my symptoms leading up to it, I was going crazy. I had really itchy skin. I couldn’t sleep…
“‘What was more difficult was when I realized — getting the news that the cancer returned was deflating. I felt like I had failed,’ he said, later adding, ‘I went public. My choice was a cathartic way to deal with my situation. I helped create, and the media helped nurture this vision of hope and this source of strength and survival — and then the cancer came back. I felt like I had let people down… I felt a little embarrassed.'” Try to imagine that. And the reason… I can understand it. He’s been the beneficiary of all kinds of people donating things, including their time.
And so people go to the — I don’t want to call it trouble, but I mean they agree to participate in transplants and testing to see if the transplants work. They go through the emotional ups and downs with you as a family member. Remission doesn’t happen and you feel like a failure, and you feel like you’ve wasted everybody’s time and you worry that they’re gonna think the same thing. Of course nobody ever looks at it that way, but this is just what the disease does to you. And I’ll tell you, the backstop for all of this is exactly what he says here.
“My choice was a cathartic way to deal with my situation. I helped create, and the media helped nurture this vision of hope.” It’s the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society doing that. Now, a lot of people do not have the ability to go public as Ethan Zohn did. He was a known individual, as a reality TV star and athletic champion. He was able to engage in public sharing of his work on this and was able to get feedback, was able to get encouragement.
A lot of people do this within the confines of total anonymity. They’re not celebrities, and they’re not wealthy. That’s the thing about the disease. It doesn’t know any of that. It can’t. It doesn’t choose. It does not discriminate, as they say.
So you hear stories like Ethan Zohn’s, and you realize what’s possible, you realize the kind of things that make it possible, and you realize the joy and the happiness that awaits with success. And you know, at the same time, of the sadness when it doesn’t. But just this idea that he felt guilty, like he had let people down, that’s fascinating to me. That’s how personal it is. Everybody who contracts this disease I think becomes aware of all the people helping, and you don’t want to let them down. But they never are, is the point. They’re all just hoping everything turns out well for everybody. That’s what this is ultimately all about.