updated 05/15/2010 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 05/15/2010 AT 1:30 PM ET
Ever since he first started treatments for a rare form of Hodgkin’s Disease last year, Survivor: Africa winner Ethan Zohn has documented his journey in video on PEOPLE.com. He and girlfriend Jenna Morasca, winner of Survivor: Amazon, have been grateful for the support of those tracking his progress – and are thrilled they have some good news to share.
“A few weeks ago, we got his first clean CT scan,” says Morasca. “Now we can officially call him ‘in remission.’ We were so nervous for this test because good news on this test meant we could start our lives again.”
The couple had been down this road before.
After he thought chemotherapy had worked to eradicate his cancer at the end of last August, Zohn learned it had come back. “The last clean scan we got was good but then we had to enter the stem cell transplant,” Morasca says, “which was quite a long and daunting process.”
Along the way, Zohn recovered from other hurdles of an equally emotional nature, such as the death of friend Jenn Lyon from breast cancer in January. But in April, when a nurse practitioner gave the couple the results of the scan, “both Ethan and I jumped up and hugged her!” Morasca says. “I cannot begin to explain the happiness and relief we felt.”
The first thing the pair did to celebrate was to go on vacation, their first trip in more than a year, to Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Soon, Zohn will be traveling more as he begins taping a series of shows called Outside Today for a new network, Outside Television, in Portland, Ore. And in June, the couple will go to South Africa for a few weeks “to work with the charity he founded with his Survivor winnings, Grassroot Soccer,” Morasca says, “and watch the World Cup games.”
Sure enough, “Ethan says he is just excited to start living again and enjoying every precious moment,” says Morasca. “We wanted to come out of this stronger people with more appreciation for each other and the world – and that’s exactly what happened.”