Our Approach

Why Children Fighting Cancer

You have cancer.

These are the words that 15,590 U.S. children under the age of 20 will hear each year, according to The National Cancer Institute. In the same year, 1,780 children will lose their battle with the disease. Among the survivors, many will face life-long side effects, including amputation, secondary cancers and severe psychological stress.

Cancer invokes feelings of fear, uncertainty and vulnerability, affecting an individual’s overall health and ability to cope with the disease. Battling cancer is a war fought by entire families. It impacts not only the patient, but their siblings, parents and friends. For children impacted by the disease, it is often the first time they have faced adversity. There is a lack of knowledge for how to overcome challenges and they can’t do it alone.

Why Navy SEALs

If knocked down, I will get back up every time. I am never out of the fight.

As renowned protectors of our country, Navy SEALs embody resilience. Becoming a Navy SEAL requires candidates to overcome near-insurmountable challenges. The SEAL program is the toughest military training in the world and tests an individual’s physical endurance, mental tenacity and ability to work as part of a team. SEAL training pushes candidates to the limit – and beyond – to ensure they have the core values and skills necessary to succeed in the most demanding conditions and against all odds. Approximately 80% will quit during training. The candidates who overcome and become Navy SEALs understand how and why it is so important to “never give up.”

For this reason, One Summit enlists Navy SEALs in the war against childhood cancer. Through Climb for Courage, Navy SEALs facilitate One Summit’s experiential learning curriculum for building resilience and serve as ongoing mentors to their little warrior as they continue in their fight against cancer.

Our Approach

Experiential Learning with Navy SEALs

Whether through Climb for Courage or Climb Higher, One Summit’s approach to building resilience begins with rock-climbing, mentorship and a curriculum based on teamwork, goal-setting and reflection.


To reinforce learnings from its experiential learning programs and build connection, One Summit provides its community of like-minded warriors with the opportunity share their own story of resilience. Their stories are documented as part of our Profiles in Resilience initiative, helping to inspire pediatric cancer patients, caregivers, Navy SEALs—and their families— to continue in their fight one hand and foothold at a time.

Community Engagement

Through year-round community events in San Diego, Boston and New York City, One Summit strives to create a supportive, welcoming community for all who participate in its experiential learning programs. Whether it is Boston Marathon weekend, Skate Night with the Harvard Men’s Hockey Team or sports games, the events are designed to provide opportunities for children and families to come together, have fun and share experiences.

Know that in 40+ years on this job, this is one of (perhaps the!) most inspiring interventions I have ever witnessed for our patients and their families.
Dr. Stephen Sallan, Dana Farber Cancer Institute
I told my mentee that I was a cancer survivor as well and how proud I was of him for being so brave. I gave him a small Trident making him an honorary SEAL. The smile on his face is unforgettable.
Navy SEAL Mentor
My favorite part is the relationship they build with the SEALs. That’s good mentor for her that’s not someone in the family, that does something super cool and she can look up to.