I didn’t write the following, it is a post by Kolby Kirk, a guy I’ve followed on Facebook for a year or so, and a man very inspirational in his own right. I found it moving, inspiring, and a great, if tragic, story. I’d have shared Kolby’s original post on Facebook, but I think there are people that read this blog whom I don’t interact with there that would also be interested in, and benefit from, this post. Here’s Kolby:
I am full of sadness today. On Friday, August 30th, Andy “Astro” Lyon passed away. Andy Lyon had been fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma since he was 18 years old. For over four years, he had been through chemo and a stem cell transplant to try and stop the disease. But when the cancer came back again in 2012, Andy said enough was enough. Instead of more chemotherapy, he decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in April, 2012.
It was a difficult journey, as it is for every thru hiker. However, after hiking 2,302 miles, pain in his back was so great, he had to get off the trail to see a doctor. The pain he was experiencing was a tumor along his spine, pressing on nerves and causing the increasing pain in his body, making it difficult for him to hike. Despite the news, he continued his hike. On October 6th, 2012, Astro completed his goal of hiking the Pacific Crest trail from Mexico to Canada.
In an interview with KEPR News, Astro said, “One of the greatest blessings I’ve gotten from this whole experience with cancer and healing is it’s given me the freedom and the drive to do whatever I want to do. And that includes the Pacific Crest Trail. Ultimately, the greatest healing lies in new things and opening yourself up to the power of the spirit, the power of the universe, the power of nature, letting go and letting that take you,” said Andy.
He was an inspiration to all that he met. He was an inspiration to me, and I had never met him. I will remember him for this picture, taken at the northern terminus of the trail, after Astro had hiked 2,660 miles. You will be missed, brother.
The moral of this story? Get out there and live, people, no matter what your definition of “live” is. Life is all too easy to take for granted.