The Next Chapter: A Conversation with Jonathan Zierdt
Over the past five years, cancer, a rare and aggressive prostate cancer, changed Jonathan Zierdt's life and tested his signature stamina.
"When will it just say, look, we know your mind is strong. We know your heart wants to continue, but look, we're out?" laughed Jonathan.
Cancer gave him purpose.
"Have I been able to touch other people and make a difference?" asked Jonathan.
And blessings straight from others in the fight.
"I would have never met them otherwise," said Jonathan.
Living with cancer now also means it's time for a new chapter for Jonathan and his wife Ginger.
"Walking away from what has meant so much."
A decision six months in the making, after March 15, he will no longer be the president and CEO of Greater Mankato Growth.
"I'm excited about the 16th, about that Saturday and waking up and knowing the rest of my life lies ahead of me."
Like immersing in a hobby that's been sitting on a shelf for three decades.
Jonathan said, "When I get behind the lens of a camera, I forget about everything else. The pain, the difficulty, the cancer, all of that just disappears. It melts away. I get lost in the artistry of photography."
He says he'll also try writing and never give up making a difference. This is a guy with a cancer fund, a motto: #jzfullyalive, and his own beer.
"People say, 'Sports figures get a beer. Look at you!'"
To everyone in Mankato today Jonathan has this to say: "It should recognize what it's become and how it's revered outside of here. I don't know that it realizes the big step that it's made, but let's keep our foot on the gas." Stacy: Mankato in 50 or 100 years... "We have so much potential and we can be so much more tomorrow."
Thanks to his faith, he says he's been at peace for years.
And says he knows it's time to slow down professionally.
"There are days that my body wishes it was today."
But never far from that sentiment: Resolve.
"Heart, mind, soul. I will trudge on."
Stacy: "What do you say to cancer if you could stare it in the eyes?"
Jonathan said, "Bring it on. Is that the best you got? I will not back down, right?! Yeah. Bring it."
Proceeds from this year's Raw Fusion Fashion Show on May 10 will benefit the JZ Cancer Fund.
To see our entire conversation with Jonathan: https://youtu.be/4ZWwx5C5RIc
--KEYC News 12