Forget about The Bachelor – some of reality TV’s most enduring relationships are from shows that have nothing to do with dating. One of reality’s strongest and most inspiring couples is Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca, who each won a season of Survivor and then met each other while doing publicity for the show. They later competed as a team on The Amazing Race. The couple has a ton in common: they’re both athletic and love to travel. They also have one less awesome thing in common: cancer.
When Jenna was competing on a Survivor all-stars season, she left the show voluntarily when she heard that her mother, who had been battling cancer for some time, was getting worse. Four days later, her mother passed away. As if that wasn’t enough, Ethan was later diagnosed with Hodgkins’ lymphoma. Although Jenna could have easily said “I can’t live through something like this again,” she stayed with Ethan through his treatment and recovery.
A few months ago, Ethan announced that the cancer was back and he would be going through another round of treatment, this time with a stem-cell transplant. Jenna has been with him in the hospital, tweeting about her boyfriend’s progress and maintaining a sense of humor. When People magazine asked how the treatment was going, Jenna said that she loved getting to hang out with her boyfriend in the hospital: “I actually really like it, because he can’t escape me. He’s forced to be around me all the time and listen to everything I say. I’m like, ‘What do you think of this hair?’ and ‘What about this lipstick color?’ And he’s over there pressing the pain medication pump button.” The couple also dyed their hair pink as a sign of solidarity before Ethan’s transplant.
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Some couples never have to deal with anything worse than choosing what restaurant to go to, and here’s a couple who has dealt with cancer and managed to stay strong, cool, and committed to each other. If two of the most important people in my life were both stricken with the same terrible disease, I’d lose my sh*t. But Jenna has only gotten stronger and more devoted to raising awareness and educating people about cancer. I’m going to remember that the next time I’m complaining about some dude not texting me back fast enough.