Nate Sobon

Most people find it excruciatingly difficult to overcome one life-altering medical condition.

But two? That’s almost unheard of.

For Nate Sobon, though, not only has he beat heart disease, but cancer as well.

“In middle school, my heart condition known as Wolff-Parkinson-White would cause my heart to start racing at around 160 – 180 beats per minute while sitting completely still due to a hole in one of my ventricles.”

In this syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson-White, an additional electrical pathway between your heart's upper and lower chambers causes an incredibly speedy heartbeat. About 40 percent of people with this condition don’t develop symptoms, but it is extremely serious for the ones who do. The extra pathway is present at birth and is very rare.

Growing up, he would have a heart attack if he exerted himself too much. Eventually, he had surgery that burned the hole shut, and hasn’t had heart problems since then.

(Yes, you read that right: Burned. The. Hole. Shut.)

That wouldn’t be the end of his story, however.

High school is a hard time in anyone’s life. But throw cancer into the mix? It can be downright hellish. Unfortunately, that’s precisely when Nate was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma (stage 2B), a cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes. 

“I went through three rounds of chemo and radiation,” Nate said. “Thankfully after that I was pronounced to be in remission.”

That’s when Nate, ultimately, became serious about fitness in hopes of becoming a Navy SEAL. After years of dieting working his tail off to get ready for basic training, he was told he wouldn’t be accepted due to the possibility of his heart issue returning or his cancer relapsing.

Nate became even more dedicated to the gym.

“All I could do at that point is just keep hitting the weights,” he said. “It was – and still is – the biggest part of me that I can control. I get so much joy from improving.”

After just a year of powerlifting dedication, Nate has a max bench of 375, a max deadlift of 520 and max squat of 500.

“Life is good,” Nate said. “I’m very thankful.”

Lift AngryAdam Field