It was with great sadness we confirmed today that one of the most beloved figures in our industry, the legendary polar adventurer Eric Larsen, has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. 

Known and cherished by many of us for his big heart, generous spirit, and true passion for adventure, Eric, 49, announced the news in a private post yesterday on Facebook. We reached out to Eric and his wife Maria Hennessey for permission to share his words—which, like Eric, are filled with honesty, compassion, and extraordinary courage.

An announcement from Eric Larsen

I've got Colorectal Cancer and possibly worse...It's hard for me to write these words and I feel scared and overwhelmed. I'm in shock as well. It has been a whirlwind of emotions, tests, appointments, and doctor calls over the past few days. After a few months of devolving digestive issues, I got a colonoscopy earlier in the week which resulted in a cancer diagnosis with immediate treatment needed. I had a CT scan done on Tuesday which showed a circumferential tumor in my rectum. There was also spotting in a few lymph nodes but the rest looked good as did my liver. The CT scan also showed dozens of scattered lung nodules, nonspecific, but consistent with metastatic carcinoma. At this point, it is unclear if the cancer has spread to my lungs or if it's a different cancer or what. Further testing / biopsy is needed for that.

We met with a local oncologist this morning but are still in the middle of figuring out the treatment plan and next steps. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy will happen in some rapid progression starting in the next few days.

Normally, I don't like to post on social media about much of my personal life but I wanted to let everyone know where things are at. People say that they beat cancer and that's what I intend to do but it's not a solo fight. Already these first few days have made me realize the people and infrastructure needed to wage war against this terrible disease. Luckily, I have Maria Hennessey and she is, as usual, solid and supportive. I couldn't do this without her. Of course, my thoughts turn to Merritt and Ellie who I love more than words can describe. I don't want to have this sickness define their lives. So trying to maintain a modicum of normalcy while we go through this process is a huge priority. Nothing is more important to me than my family.

I am having a difficult time actually talking to people without getting too emotional so I haven't really been having too many conversations with friends or family. That will come in time, but not right now. Some of you are family, some of you are good friends and others are just acquaintances, but I thought it would be good for you to know.

I've had a few close encounters with death over the years so in one sense this is familiar territory.

A huge thank you to all of you who are already offering your unconditional support and love. It means so much to Maria and I and our family.

Of course in any difficult situation any positive thoughts are always appreciated and helpful. So thank you in advance for being in our corner. It means the world to us.

How you can help

To everyone in the industry who knows and loves Eric, now is the time to step up. The fight against cancer is a long, arduous, and complex battle. None of us should doubt that Eric will meet this challenge with characteristic bravery and grit, but it's not a fight he can win alone.

As Eric and his family endure the months of treatment ahead, family and friends will be organizing a Meal Train for the Larsens—a service to ensure they have warm food on the table between appointments, procedures, and therapy.

Even if you don't live nearby (the Larsens are based in Crested Butte but will be traveling to Boston for treatment), you can still help. Methods of donation are explained on the Meal Train page that has been created for the Larsens, linked below.

To everyone who can pitch in, thank you. Your support is immensely helpful to Eric and his family during this difficult time.

Related

ORSM15_ConservationAllianceBreakfast1

Eric Larsen: Last man walking

Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Aug. 5 – 8. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update ...read more

EricLarsen

Eric Larsen on the biggest winter camping mistakes

I’ll be honest: Cold weather camping has always scared me a bit. I love to camp during the fall and summer, but I honestly had never given much thought to doing it in the sub-freezing dead of winter. On paper, it’s not my idea of a good time. Then my boss asked me to attend “Into ...read more

Eric Larsen's Earth Day tribute

Eric Larsen's Earth Day tribute

Using footage from the past eight years and from adventures on five continents, polar explorer Eric Larsen created a mash-up video to inspire people on Earth Day. One of Larsen's biggest sources of inspiration is Robert Service's "Call of the Wild" poem, a reading of which ...read more

yonderlogo

Yonder Teams up with World Renowned Polar Explorer Eric Larsen

Media Contact:Verde Brand CommunicationsTessa DuBoisTdubois@verdepr.com970.259.3555 Woodstock, VT (March 14, 2014) – Yonder, an outdoor app that connects outdoor enthusiasts through shared experiences, is excited to officially announce a partnership with polar explorer Eric ...read more

waterfalls at hanging lake near glenwood springs

Industry Buzz: Vibram, Camber Outdoors, Eric Larsen, plus new restrictions at a popular Colorado spot

Keep up by reading Industry Buzz. Here are today's top headlines: Have a news tip? Email us at snewsedit@aimmedia.com Vibram is getting a new president. Michael Gionfriddo announced his retirement as the company’s president and CEO effective Dec. 31, and that Fabrizio Gamberini ...read more

LastSouth_ELProfile (1)

Industry Buzz: REI, American Alpine Club, Eric Larsen, BioLite, and KEEN

Keep up by reading Industry Buzz. Here are today's top headlines: Have a news tip? Email us at snewsedit@aimmedia.com REI Co-op is investing $1 million in the Outdoor Foundation, the charitable arm of Outdoor Industry Association. The donation will go to the Thrive Outside ...read more

EricLarsen

Allied Feather & Down is Proud Sponsor of Polar Explorer Eric Larsen

Montebello, Calif. (Oct. 6, 2014)--Allied Feather & Down, the leading supplier and processor of down in the outdoor and apparel industry, is proud to announce its partnership with polar explorer, educator and expedition guide, Eric Larsen. He has spent the past 20 years traveling ...read more

Eric Hende Henderson headshot

In the wild with Eric "Hende" Henderson

I'm riding a Stromer e-bike that goes up to 30 mph, yet Eric "Hende" Henderson biking with a trailer full of packrafts and gear is still hard to keep up with. We're pedal pushing along a 10-mile stretch from his office to the Boulder Reservoir for a mellow morning of paddling ...read more

Backbone Media crew showing off their crewcuts

"F cancer, I'm going skiing"

There aren’t many feel-good stories about a bunch of white guys with shaved heads in 2018, but here’s one. After three rounds of chemo to treat Hodgkins Lymphoma, John DiCuollo —the longtime PR pro for Backbone Media, who is ubiquitously known across the outdoor industry by his ...read more