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This man is swiping for love on Tinder while battling cancer

Like most single guys, Sergei is on Tinder. But he's battling something much bigger, too.


Marisa Kabas


Posted on Feb 13, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 1:23 pm CDT

When Sergei moved to New York from Moscow when he was 10 years old, he dreamed of being a hockey superstar like his hero, Mario Lemieux. But he never expected that 20 years later, the one thing he’d have in common with Lemieux was a deadly illness. 

“It’s rather ironic,” he says. Just one week ago, Sergei, who asked to omit his last name, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But rather than let it break his spirit, he’s decided to face it head on—starting with his Tinder profile. A few days after his diagnosis, Sergei’s friend posted a screenshot of his profile on Reddit, where Sergei writes frankly about battling cancer.

In an email interview with the Daily Dot, Sergei said his Tinder profile “kind of started out as a joke.” 

“The most common advice I get was to be positive, so I decided to take that to [the] next level,” he wrote. “As I told my friend: ‘I’m gonna Eat Pray Love the fuck out of this thing,’ so I decided to change my Tinder profile accordingly.”

Sergei is being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. Last Wednesday, he had a piece of his lymph nodes cut out in an effort to stop the spread of the cancer. After the surgery, he posted this photo on Instagram:

Sergei want to share his journey with his Instagram followers, as well as his Tinder matches. But he also wants others to share their stories with him. That’s why he’s encouraging people to reach out to him via his Instagram

“If I can chill out a person that’s going through the same stuff, or cheer them up, or show them that things aren’t so bad, then I’ll be paying forward what all the wonderful people I have recently met have done for me.”

“All I want is for someone to love me the way Kanye loves Kanye.”

So far, Sergei hasn’t found his perfect match on Tinder, but he remains hopeful. And despite his Tinder jokes about becoming “empowered” through “casual sex,” he sounds like he’s genuinely looking for something more serious.  

“I have not met anyone since I put this up because quite honestly, there hasn’t been any time,” he says. “My life has been a giant whirlwind in the last week. It’s a bit surreal how one day can change your life forever.”

Even if he did meet someone, he’s not sure he would talk openly about it with others, least of all inquiring journalists. “I’m a big proponent of privacy and trust,” he says. “When someone enters a relationship with me, no matter how long and short, I want them to know that they can trust me during and after, and have private things remain private.” But ultimately, all Sergei wants is to find “someone to love me the way Kanye loves Kanye.”

Photos via Instagram | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

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*First Published: Feb 13, 2015, 5:00 am CST