KNOXVILLE - Two days after Troy Galyon graduates from the University of Tennessee next Saturday, he'll begin the 2,200 mile trek along the Appalachian Trail to fundraise for cancer research.
Galyon's journey is the combination of an old dream and more recent life events. His father was diagnosed with Stage IV esophageal cancer in October.
"If anybody in your family or anyone you know gets cancer - don't read," Galyon said. "Don't read, especially Stage IV because, everyone said the outlook is very bad."
Troy's father Danny Galyon has since undergone radiation and is in his third round of chemotherapy.
"It's still Stage IV, but the tumor in his esophagus has shrunk and the spots on his liver, when they did the scan they had either disappeared or stayed the same - they can't tell because the tissue is always going to look like that, so we say it's gone," Galyon said.
Next Monday Galyon will begin hiking at the AT's southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia. Though he has already begun raising money for the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, he didn't initially tell his father that his trip would have that intention.
"I just said 'I think I'm going to hike the AT,' so at first he was like, 'I don't think you should do that. You need to get a job, go do something,' the typical parent thing," Galyon said. "About two or three weeks ago I said to him, 'Do you know why I'm hiking?' And he said no. I said I'm doing it to raise money, and he said 'Oh Troy I think I'm going to cry.' I think he's happy now that he knows the reason."
Galyon chose MD Anderson Cancer Center because of its reputation for cutting edge treatment.
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.
You can also follow Galyon's trek up the Appalachian Trail on Facebook at Beat Cancer - A Hike Along the AT.
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