Connor O'Leary

Nate Sorensen

My name is Connor O’Leary. I’m a Seattle native but have called the mountains of Utah home for as long as I can remember. I am a professional cyclist, student, and outdoor enthusiast. 

In 2010 I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I remember going to the doctor for a routine check-up, and within three minutes of being in that examination room, hearing the doctors utter the three words nobody should ever hear…. You. Have. Cancer. At 19, cancer was the last thing I thought I would have to worry about, but it soon became very real. I had surgery, and started Chemotherapy a few weeks later. It really didn’t hit me until I woke one Sunday morning, scratched my head, and had a grip of hair fall out. I looked in the mirror trying to hold back the tears. I would go to the hospital everyday, and talk to the other patients, sometimes returning a few days later, asking where certain people were and hearing they didn’t make it. I was by no means I naïve 19 year old, but I had never really experienced being that close to death before. For the first time in my life, I really saw how fragile life truly is.

Time went on, and round after round of chemotherapy went by. I started having pain in my shoulder blade/collarbone area. The pain progressively got worse, moving down my left side, and into my rib cage. I waited as long as possible before going into the ER. I got checked in promptly and was rushed into the back where I was assessed. From the look on the doctor’s faces, I could tell it was serious.  A doctor came in, explaining to me that I had pulmonary embolisms in both lungs and heart. He then looked me in the eye and said “I don’t know how you’re here honestly, that would have killed almost anybody, you have been given a second chance." That hit me hard; I had essentially escaped death, and felt like I now needed to make the most of my life.

We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but I know that the places we see, the people we meet, and the things we make will fuel us forever. I know words can't express my love for life, but I hope my actions do…


My name is Nate Sorensen. I am native to Salt Lake City, Utah, but a drifter at heart. My passion for life and desires to experience the world were ignited at a young age as I watched my father travel to exotic places and tell stories of the things he saw, people he met, and adventures he had.

When I wasn’t out skiing, biking, fishing, or with friends, I was practicing music. I picked up the drums at age ten and studied relentlessly until I graduated from high school. I was on track to make drumming my career, but as everything else in life, my course changed.

When I was just 16 years old my dad was diagnosed with cancer. The type of cancer is too hard to spell, but it was rare, deadly, and unstoppable . By the time I was 17 and in my junior year of high school, cancer had taken my father's life. When we lose someone we love we quickly realize that life goes on. School is still in session, bills still need to be paid, the lawn still needs to be mowed, and life is still to be lived. This realization was a difficult pill to swallow, but I didn’t spit it out. As the youngest of four children, with a widowed mother who I love and respect dearly, the word "challenge" was redefined in my world.

For whatever reason, my passion for drumming had burnt out and my new passion for photography and making movies began to plant it’s seed. This would be the greatest life change I could ask for. For the next 5 years I focused all my energy on capturing what was happening around me and learning how to piece videos together. After working along side some of the greatest mentors I could have asked for, I ventured off on my own.

I am now 22 years old, and my life has turned out completely different than I ever imagined. To be completely honest, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. My career as a videographer has become more than a source of income. It's also a way to tell stories of the fascinating people I meet and the wild adventures I am fortunate to have. My dad's death has become much more than a tragedy by giving me perspective.

With my friends and family by my side and all of life’s question marks ahead, I am just barely beginning a wild ride called life, and I love it.