Eagle River Youth Coalition spotlights Finn Mott

Gerry Lopez
Special to the Daily
Finn Mott, a junior at Eagle Valley High School, will be giving a TED talk at the upcoming TEDxYouth event in April.
Special to the Daily

Finn Mott is a star at Eagle Valley High School, currently in his junior year.

He is a young soul who is always wearing a smile and a positive attitude, full of adventure and positive energy. As we speak, Finn admits it wasn’t always that way for him.


As Finn fills his mug of warm homemade coffee, he admits that life wasn’t always filled with energy and adventure.

“Being yourself is what is most important, and you should find that valuable.”Finn MottEagle Valley High School student

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Finn is a cancer survivor and opened up about how he felt through that process. Finn admits that there was little to no hope at all in the beginning, but says that the hope that did come his way came from his mother.

“My mom was my biggest source of hope.” Finn said.

Treatment took eight months of Finn’s life, where he had to give up passions such as soccer and running. In those eight months Finn also had to leave school, and chemo became like school to him, but Finn talked about times in those eight months that gave him hope for the future. One of those moments happened while Finn was at camp for five days. Finn attended those five days of camp at Roundup River Ranch, which nurtured his mentality.

“Those five days changed my perspective on hope, and I recognized how blessed I was to be in the position that I was in,” Finn said.

Another moment that gave him hope was at the Glenwood Caverns, where Finn witnessed someone break the high score in laser tag. That someone was Sean Swarmer, the recipient of the Don’t Ever Give Up Award presented by the Jimmy V Foundation and ESPN in the year of 2007.

Swarmer is also a two-time cancer survivor. Swarmer also plants flags with cancer survivor names in the summits that he embarks on, and Finn has his name on a flag planted in Alaska, alongside many other cancer survivors.

Moments like these are moments that Finn cherishes.

Biggest Hardship

Finn talked about all this, but he mentioned that the hardest part wasn’t being diagnosed with cancer. The hardest part was coming out of treatment and trying to find himself all over again — finding a new identity.

Cancer took two of his greatest passions, and he had to focus on other ways to be able to become fit again. His doctor suggested he try joining the mountain biking team. Finn got a mountain bike for his birthday and didn’t look back.

“I don’t have a burning passion for mountain biking, but it helped me find a new version of myself,” Finn said. “Mountain biking is a way to challenge myself, and I strive to improve myself. My biggest asset is my own personal improvement.”

After being able to find confidence in his ability, Finn was able to channel that energy toward his academics.

“I try to be the best that I can be, and be OK with that.” Finn said as he continued to sip on his mug of coffee.

Finn’s Philosophies

Throughout our conversation, Finn had countless philosophies that he lives by.

“There are positives and negatives in everything in life. I am at the best place in my life I have been in three years,” Finn said. “Before I was diagnosed with cancer I wouldn’t of been as involved as I am today. Life is short, and I am always trying to gain new perspectives in people’s lives.”

One more philosophy that Finn lives by is to be as involved as possible with helping others. Finn was able to travel last year to Tanzania to teach English and will be going to Morocco this year to do the same thing.

“Anyway that you can help others is valuable, because everyone has something different to share, and everyone’s perspective is unique,” he said.

Finn also adds that his philosophies are built around his belief that ignorance is bad.

“My dogs are the only ones who know who I truly am, and that is because they can’t speak, so they can’t judge,” he said.

Finn says people should be more like dogs, and not speak on subjects that they personally have never gone through.

Life now

His return to school has not been easy. Due to his treatment, Finn had to miss a huge chunk of schooling. Being absent has not stopped his determination though.

“I am taking rigorous classes, and I am catching up,” Finn said.

Finn is also a member of the Youth Leaders Council where his voice is being heard, and he is making a difference in his community. When Finn graduates he wants to attend Stanford University and plans on pursuing a degree in the field of writing.

“Writing, and being an author, feels right. I have a lot to say. Creativity is amazing,” Finn said.

As he finished his mug of coffee, Finn concludes with one final statement.

“Being yourself is what is most important, and you should find that valuable,” he said.

Finn is on a path to success, and will be giving a TED talk at the upcoming TEDxYouth event in April.

Thank you for all that you do, Finn.

Gerry Lopez is a youth adviser for Eagle River Youth Coalition. For more information, visit

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