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In the Ethan Zohn Zone

In normal times, I watched the news every morning with the end of the day watching real life stories, or something deep. During the Covid quarantine, that changed. I found it hard to watch the news, I’d rather read it and it was difficult to settle my brain around something deep. So I took the time on my hands for what felt like the first time ever, and I binged almost all the seasons of the long-running CBS franchise “Survivor,” I’m sure most of you have seen at least a season, it’s in its 41st, but the last 20 years I was a super busy single mom who frequently worked crazy hours and traveled nonstop, I had only watched a few.

My niece, Markie has a long term obsession with the show. A few years ago, she started a Family tournament board where we each put in $25, pick our players, and whomever makes it to the finale wins a little money with the Sole Survivor receiving $300. It makes the show fun to watch as my family is always super competitive, in anything we play together, including board games and poker. Win or lose, we always have fun. So when someone asked me “Would you want to interview Ethan Zohn, the season 3 winner of “Survivor: Africa?” Without hesitation, I said “My Ethan? Hell, yes!” How ironic, he was my current pick to win the season we that was currently airing “Survivor: Winners at War.”

I had actually known who Ethan was, I did see season 3 and had followed his public battle with cancer twice. Which he beat…twice becoming a symbol of hope. While preparing for our Lunch I learned is he’s much more than just the just the winner of “Survivor: Africa,” even more than a heroic cancer survivor. Ethan is an inspiration. As an avid soccer player he took his eye-popping winnings from the show, and established Grassroot Soccer. Grassroot Soccer, is an adolescent health organization that leverages the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize at-risk youth in developing countries. He’s a relevant social entrepreneur for almost 20 years, which is no small feat. In 2019, he spoke publicly about how CBD, a non-intoxicating component of the cannabis plant helped him greatly with his anxiety and residual fear that cancer leaves behind.

He began working with a farm in Vermont that grows hemp/CBD Mont Kush. He sent me a sample (and a really soft tee shirt) and I’ve been taking it every day.

Fundamentally, Ethan is simply a good person. After his wedding to Lisa in 2016, he and his new bride (who popped in on the podcast to say hi!) embarked on a charitable honeymoon where they helped refugees in Greece. He’s a good dude and we need more good dudes because we’re living in a world where we’re all so focused on what is WRONG… Covid, massive unemployment, anxiety, the 24 hour news cycle that’s in overdrive, the 2020 election that is stressing everyone out, shouts of “let’s cancel 2020…” It can seriously be too much sometimes. Interviewing him was a breath of fresh air…. a respite from the madness. The reminder that we can still do good, even if we’re stuck at home. We are capable of making a difference big or small. I felt a real connection with Ethan. I look forward to getting to know him better and eventually visit him in Vermont. His radiant energy is palpable and reminded me, on a day that I needed it; change really can and does start with each of us. He proved it.

Check out my interview with Ethan and visit his website at to learn more and be inspired.

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