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Utah man who survived battle with cancer sets his sights on Mount Everest

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By Kevin Randall

LAYTON, Utah -- Few can say they have the strength to climb the highest mountain in the world, but one local cancer survivor says he's ready to take it on—and it's all for a good cause.

Overcoming challenges is nothing new to 58-year-old Jon Platten of Layton.

"In my life I’ve always been determined and try not to fail,” he said.

In January of 2015, Platten was diagnosed with colon cancer, starting him on a journey to fight for his life.

"It was devastating to say the least, because I had waited way too long,” Platten said. “I was 56 when I had my first colonoscopy, and I should have gone in at 50 because they told me the tumor had developed over that 6 years.”

Jon quickly began treating the disease with chemotherapy, radiation and three major surgeries.

"Everything... is like someone taking nails and poking them into your finger tips, and your toes, and your nose, and your ears, and your tongue,” Platten said.

Despite the intense treatment, he continued to work through the pain.

"I lifted weights daily; I played basketball 2-3 times a week,” he said.

Platten’s doctor, Brandon Fisher, said it is this determination that pushed Platten through the hard times.

“He had the attitude of: ‘I have cancer, but I’m going to do everything I can to beat it, and I’m going to beat it,’ which is pretty neat to see,” Fisher said.

As president of Radiating Hope, an organization that provides radiation equipment to developing countries, Dr. Fisher selected Platten to join other cancer survivors on a 2-week trek up Mount Everest.

"We're going to trek to the base camp of Mount Everest, which is a pretty hard thing to do.,” Fisher said. “It's 17,600 feet of elevation.”

Together they'll hang traditional Tibetan prayer flags, each one dedicated to a cancer survivor like Jon. It’s a calling he doesn't take lightly.

"I don't go just for myself, I go for millions of cancer survivors and even those who haven't survived cancer,” Platten said.

The entire group is preparing to leave in April 2017. If you would like to support Jon, visit his GoFundMe page. For more information about Radiating Hope, visit their website.