Survivor fan-favorite Rupert Boneham has faced much more than the show’s manufactured fears and thrills these days. Boneham was diagnosed with throat cancer, and he recently opened up about his battle with the disease and how he overcame it.
Boneham Wants To ‘Create Something That Helps Others’
Boneham, who was known for his roaring voice, went to the doctor when “my throat was getting so bad I could barely talk. I had resigned myself never to be able to roar… the guy who could talk and you know, be rough,” he said.
After two successful surgeries, Boneham regained his voice and a new outlook on life. “[It] made me understand how really important it has always been for me to create something that helps others,” Boneham shared.
The former reality star rededicated himself to his social work in his hometown of Shelbyville, Indiana. His non-profit, Rupert’s Kids, created a residential re-entry center for non-violent offenders in the criminal justice system. It’s part of his life-long mission as he mentors those who are trying to turn their lives around.
“Yeah, I really loved Survivor. I really loved being Rupert from Survivor, but I really loved being Rupert the Mentor,” said Boneham. He plans to expand the 12 bed center for men and build a new one for women in Shelby County. Boneham said that beating cancer gave him the right to call himself a “true survivor.”
“Having my mortality shown to me, and smacked in the face with it, shows me I don’t have an unlimited amount of time,” he said. “I used to believe I’m going to be here forever! I am honestly thankful that I have a voice.”
Still Wants To Appear On ‘Survivor’
Boneham, who has appeared on the show four times (Pearl Islands, All-Stars, Heroes vs. Villains, Blood vs. Water), have never won the game. However, he did take home the fan-favorite $1 million prize on the All-Stars season.
When asked about his thoughts on the new seasons of the show, he said, “They have taken a game and keep throwing twists out there and keep throwing stuff out there. I like that they’re not doing puzzles on every challenge but for one that likes the physical side, too. If you can’t tell, I’d love to go play the game again. MY GOSH! I even told them I’d go be a prize, you can win me on Survivor!”
“It’s hard to kill a good idea,” Boneham said when asked if the show was being ruined with too many complications. “No matter what you do to it, Survivor’s a great idea. I just think they need to go back to basics.” Getting back to the basics seems to be what Rupert Boneham does best.