Cancer survivor and ‘Radiating Hope’ face Mt. Everest for the cure

Mt. Everest Base Camp signpost in the Himalayas, Nepal | Photo by Blyjack / Getty Images, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Climbing the highest mountain in the world is a challenge that only 4,000 people have undertaken since Sir Edmund Hilary reached the summit of Mount Everest in 1953.

So for 58-year-old cancer survivor Jon Platten, the idea of climbing anything near the likes of Mount Everest was never an item on his bucket list.

This 2015 photo shows Jon Platten at Ogden Regional’s Cancer Treatment Center in Ogden, Utah, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Jon Platten, St. George News

Neither was being diagnosed with colon cancer, but that is exactly what happened in 2015 when Platten found himself in a fight for his life after being diagnosed with the disease.

Doctors began treatment quickly, Platten said, a regimen that included chemotherapy, radiation and three major surgeries that resulted in complete remission.

Platten was a resident of Southern Utah while working on the 1983 filming of “A Killer in the Family,” a movie starring Robert Mitchum. Shortly after filming wrapped, he attended then Dixie College, earning a degree in radio and television broadcasting.

Old-timers might even remember Platten when he worked as a radio host with KDLX for several years while living in the St. George area. He later moved to Layton where he now resides with his wife and one of his three daughters.

The idea of climbing Mount Everest was first mentioned to Platten by Dr. Brandon Fisher, who became one of Platten’s strongest supporters as he was fighting cancer.

Fisher is a radiation oncologist at Ogden Regional Medical Center and is the co-founder and past president of “Radiating Hope,” a nonprofit volunteer organization focused on improving cancer care and radiation oncology around the globe.

The group carries Tibetan prayer flags on its expeditions. After visiting the highest peaks around the world, the flags are placed at the summit of Mount Everest.

Flags from patients at Ogden Regional’s Cancer Treatment Center will also be making the journey, which is how he became involved with the organization, Platten said.

“My doctor told me that I would have a chance at being selected to be an ambassador on a future expedition,” he said, “and then I was chosen from a pool of about 10 cancer survivors to represent the group in April.”

An ambassador, he said, is a cancer survivor that represents the group and is an example to others that they can do anything.

“It also shows the people in Nepal that radiation does work and that people with cancer can and do survive,” he said.

“Radiating Hope” donates radiation technology and equipment to hospitals in developing countries where patients are unable to access treatment due to a lack of equipment. Four linear accelerator machines were donated to the nonprofit by several hospitals around the country, Platten said, including two that were donated by Ogden Regional Medical Center.

The machines will go to various hospitals in Nepal including one hospital in Kathmandu that is awaiting the delivery of the much needed equipment, Platten said.

The party will then continue its 12-day  journey to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal, located on the south side of Mount Everest at an elevation of more than 17,000 feet.

Together they’ll hang traditional Tibetan prayer flags, each one dedicated to a cancer survivor like Platten. The flag’s journey can be followed at Radiating Hope’s Follow Your Flag.

Platten’s neighbors set up a GoFundMe page to help him with additional funding needed to make the April 11-28 journey.

More information is availabel on the Radiating Hope website.

Mount Everest’s elevation is more than 29,000 feet, making it the tallest mountain on earth. Situated on the border of China and Nepal in the heart of the Himalayan mountain chain, the mountain is named after the land surveyor General Sir George Everest. He was the first person to locate the exact position of the peak, according to information obtained from Nepal Eco Adventure.

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Ed. note: St. George News has not verified information provided in connection with fundraising accounts mentioned in this report and does not assure that monies deposited to the accounts will be applied as described. Those considering contributions are advised to consult with their own professionals for tax advice and investment risks.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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