Motivational and inspirational speaker
Today, Aron is one of Sweden’s most popular speakers with over one hundred engagements per year. His motivational talks on how to achieve goals and maximize potential have inspired many of Sweden’s largest and most successful companies and organizations. It’s an exciting and fascinating experience to listen to Aron – and become part of his adventures, creativity, humor and fighting spirit.
Even as a child, Aron enjoyed pushing the boundaries. He climbed trees, sawed and built igloos. He simply loved discovering things. After a hip injury, which meant that he could no longer focus on professional sports, Aron was challenged to bike to Paris and just a few months later he was challenged to climb the Kebnekaise. Since then, he’s been jumping from adventure to adventure… All adventures are fundraisers for the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation. “I would say that climbing the Kebnekaise tore down most mental barriers for me. It made me realize that anything is possible if you just work hard for it!”
Aron’s unique experiences have made him want to help and support others. Today, he’s a successful ambassador for the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation. Through his adventures, he’s raised millions of Swedish crowns for vital cancer research. In 2015, he was voted Fundraiser of the Year.
Host and communicator
Aron Anderson is a familiar face to most people. In recent years, he’s often appeared on TV, including as host for Lilla Sportspegeln, a sports show for kids, and the Paralympics. Swedish news site Nyheter 24 included him on the list of Sweden’s Most Powerful Young People in 2015 and 2016. He’s been named Super Communicator by the magazine Resumé and Newcomer of the Year by Shortcut.
In Aron’s own words:
How it all started
I truly had the greatest childhood you could imagine. At the age of 1, I moved from the inner city to a townhouse in Nacka with my Mom and Dad. My little brothers Leo and Hugo were born with only a few years in between. Although I’ve always liked my brothers, we’ve been extremely close. We’ve wrestled, fought and pushed each other off the dock at our summer home in the countryside. The way it should be, really. My favorite time of year was always summer, which we spent at our summer home on the island of Idö in the Stockholm archipelago. There, we could run around naked, swim and pet cows. I remember how the summer holidays at Idö seemed to be endless.
It all started when I got a pain in the butt when I sat down. We were in the car, it was around Christmas 1995 and we were heading down to my grandparents to spend the holiday there. After a few hours on the road, my butt started to hurt a lot from sitting down. And the pain wouldn’t go away. Every time I sat down, it returned. A few weeks later I was x-rayed at the hospital. The results of the x-ray came as a shock to everyone. I had cancer. A tumor the size of an apple grew in my sacrum in the lower back. Many tests and examinations later, it was clear that it was a malignant tumor, but the prognosis for being cured looked good. On my 8th birthday, January 26, 1996, I received my first chemotherapy treatment.
After the first chemotherapy, a very tough period followed. It was a time full of chemo, radiation and all sorts of medications to heal me. I found that what I went through as a child, I wanted no man to suffer. There was pain, suffering and tears. Needles and vomit. At first, it still went quite well. You could see how the tumor was shrinking and everything really went in the right direction. I was going to be well!
After the surgery, I embarked on a tough time in my life. So much of what I loved to do I could no longer do. Among the best things I knew when I was a kid was to play soccer after school. I couldn’t do that anymore. In order to heal after surgery, I had to lie still in a bed for 6 weeks. 6 weeks when you’re a kid with a lot of energy is no picnic. After weeks in the hospital came the next challenge. Now I wasn’t allowed to sit down for an entire year. Imagine that challenge. You’re just out of surgery and can’t use your legs, and on top of it, you can’t sit down. How do you deal with that?
Sports became an important part (if not the most important) for me to get back to life. That’s how I regained my confidence and found something that I really loved doing. It was when I got my first wheelchair that I started to try many different sports. The first thing I tried was sailing, then track and field and sledge hockey. I was immediately hooked on all three. When I do something in life, I usually do it all the way. And that goes for sports too. I started training as much as I could in all three sports and quickly improved. I’ve always had talent, even if I haven’t been the most talented.
At the age of 13, I competed in my first championship, the Junior European Championships. I had been training as much as I possibly could but I had no idea how it would go. Since I had never competed outside of Sweden before, I didn’t know the competition, so I was really nervous. My first race was the 100m. I was completely out of sorts before the race, but once I sat on the starting line, it disappeared. Then it was just me towards the finish line. I remember the start very well. After 50 meters, I’m up in the lead and manage to keep it all the way to the finish. A truly magical feeling! It gave me a taste to continue to compete even more.
I finished high school with really great grades and the goal was clear as day: First, I would become the best athlete in the world, and then I would get a “real” education, which my parents had said was so important since I was a kid. I graduated high school in June 2007 and my goal was set for September 2008: The Paralympics in Beijing. I was going to make the team and perform really well. The primary goal was actually the Paralympics in London in 2012, when I would perform at the very top, but Beijing was on the way. After many hours of focused training, I finally made the team. It was an awesome feeling to compete in front of 90,000 screaming Chinese fans. My results didn’t blow anyone away, but since the main objective was London, that was okay.
In December 2011, my full focus was on the Paralympics in London, which would take place 9 months later. During the summer, I had achieved some of the best results of my career (including the Swedish marathon record) and now it was time to shine. For a few months, I had suffered from a pain in my right hip. I had been to the chiropractor countless times, but nothing seemed to help. I finally went to the doctor and had it x-rayed. The news was grim. It turned out that my hip was dislocated, causing this pain. The doctors said that it wasn’t anything to worry about, but that I needed surgery to get rid of the pain. The operation would mean that I would miss out on London. So I decided to train despite the pain. In May 2012, before the actual games, I competed in a test event at the Olympic Stadium in London. Then I also knew that I would never make it to the games. My hip had started to mess up so badly that I could barely sleep at night. The situation was untenable and I decided to have the surgery which would mean the end of my career as a pro athlete, but eventually the beginning of an entirely different journey…