How Jenna Morasca and Ethan Zohn are Surviving Cancer Together
Survivor star Jenna opens up to BettyConfidential about her biggest challenge: helping boyfriend Ethan heal — and how she found the strength to be there for him.
She’s a bad girl, he’s a good guy. Together the two of them formed one of the unlikeliest celebrity couples ever. But Jenna Morasca, 29, the occasionally abrasive champion of Survivor: the Amazon, and the soft-spoken Ethan Zohn, 36, who won Survivor: Africa, have stuck together for close to seven years now—and in the last several months, they’ve undergone a challenge far tougher than anything Survivor could ever dream up.
Last April, Ethan was diagnosed with a rare form of Hodgkin’s disease but thought he had beaten the illness after three months of grueling chemotherapy. During that time, he was violently sick and lost his famous mop-top hair. But last August his doctor told him the cancer had returned. “I have never been so scared in my life,” Ethan told People magazine. He entered the second phase of his fight, enduring more chemotherapy as well as radiation and an agonizing stem-cell transplant procedure before coming back to his New York City home in January to get back to his normal strength. Jenna, who lost her own mom to breast cancer, was at his side every day, even sleeping in Ethan’s hospital room. She talked to BettyConfidential about the ordeal that has consumed their lives.
How is Ethan doing?
He’s doing great. He just had a CAT scan, and it showed he’s in remission. Hopefully, this is over forever.
Is he back to being active?
He’s riding a stationary bike, and he’s running two to three times a week on the treadmill in the indoor gym, I should probably run, too, but the only thing I’d run toward is a pile of money!
Because of Ethan’s treatments, his immune system must be weak. What kinds of precautions do you have to take to make sure doesn’t get sick?
We can’t have fresh-cut flowers or fruits with the skin on. We can’t go on airplane trips because of the recycled air. We went on a subway ride recently, though. I love the subway and so does he, but it’s covered with germs. So we wore winter gloves and took lots of hand sanitizer. Luckily, it was winter, so everyone else was wearing gloves, too.
What’s been the toughest part of this ordeal?
Probably when the first chemo didn’t work. There was a lot of shock and horror and “I can’t believe this.”