Troy Galyon graduated from the University of Tennessee in May, then two days later headed to Georgia to start his 2,200 jouney along the Appalachian Trail. For Galyon, the hike wasn't just a post-grad adventure, but a way to fundraise for cancer research and honor his dad.
Galyon's father was diagnosed with Stage IV esophageal cancer in October.
"He said 'I'm going to hike in honor of you, dad,' and I got big ole tears in my eyes" Danny Galyon said. "I don't know that anybody's done anything like that for me ever."
Galyon created a fundraising campaign with MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston called Beat Cancer - A Hike Along the A.T.
"I think if I had been doing it just for fun or for myself, it would've been much more difficult for me to continue going," Troy said. "But knowing that I was doing it for a good cause, and for me - for my dad, that really kept me going because I know that he would do anything for me."
On the campaign's Facebook page Galyon updated his progress on the trail and the fundraising front. The last account update from MD Anderson came about two weeks before Galyon finished his hike. At that time, friends, family and strangers had donated around $5,000 directly to MD Anderson Cancer Center.
"It was so amazing that a five minute conversation with complete strangers would end up with them donating to help fund cancer research and essentially, help dad," Troy said.
Troy says the hike was both humbling and rewarding.
His father said the community's support has been outstanding, but he son's dedication and commitment to fulfilling his promise makes him especially proud.
"It's pretty overwhelming what he did, just himself, just for somebody," Danny Galyon said. "I'm just glad that somebody was me."
The fundraising drive for Beat Cancer - A Hike Along the A.T. lasts until Friday, Sept. 15.
Here's how to donate to Gaylon's cause
CLICK HERE for MD Anderson Cancer Center's donation page, enter the amount you would like to donate and enter your billing information.
Select the box that says "I would like to choose where my donation will go," and from the drop down menu select "other." To ensure your gift goes to Galyon's efforts, type "beat" in the box.
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