Two days after Troy Galyon graduates from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, he will embark on a 2,200-mile journey along the Appalachian Trail to raise awareness and funds for cancer research and treatment.
This journey is a personal one for the 22-year-old Maryville native. His father, Danny Galyon, was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer last fall and is in the middle of chemotherapy treatments.
Mr. Galyon, a Global Leadership Scholar in the Haslam College of Business, majoring in economics and minoring in international business, said he looks forward to the hike as a way to honor his father.
"I have always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail," he said. "Now that I can do it for him, it's really meaningful for me."
Mr. Galyon is raising money for cancer research and treatment to benefit the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. To donate to his fundraising campaign, go to the center's website and type in his code word "beat" when making a donation. Mr. Galyon chose the center because it is nationally ranked as a leading cancer hospital.
Mr. Galyon hopes to walk about 20 miles per day and finish in mid-August. While he plans to hike the trail alone, he is happy to have people join him for portions of his trip. Those who would like to follow him throughout his journey can visit his "Beat Cancer – A Hike Along the AT" Facebook page.
"I look forward to meeting other hikers along the way," he said. "Once I complete the trail, my parents will drive to Maine to pick me up, and we'll make the trip back home to Maryville together."
Community members are encouraged to mail supplies — items like packaged food, drinks and small toiletries — to support Galyon during his trek. Packages can be mailed to 250 Depot St., Franklin, North Carolina, 28734.
After Mr. Galyon completes his journey, he plans to stay in Maryville to spend time with his family. With his experience working with international students in UT's International House, he hopes to move to London to work with students studying abroad.