AWENDAW, S.C. (WCIV) — South Carolina is second in the nation for the number of people who die from oral cancer every year. That statistic hits too close to home for one local Boy Scout troop who is now taking on the fight against the cancer.
For five days, Boy Scout Troop 50 will be hiking through the Francis Marion National Forest from Awendaw to Moncks Corner.
“Last summer our former Scoutmaster was diagnosed with tongue and throat cancer and he had to step down,” said Larry Elkin, who is volunteering to help lead the hike.
Elkin says the boys have been preparing the 53 mile voyage for months. Their goal is to raise $5,000 to donate to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
“Mr. Hardy loved his troop and he loved to hike, so what way better way to honor and bring awareness than through something he loved,” said Elkin.
“If it’s one thing Mr. Hardy taught me is that if you are not going to do something right then don’t do it at all,” said Reid Kaplan, a 17-year-old who was under Hardy’s leadership when he was in the sixth grade.
It’s memories and lessons learned from Hardy that Kaplan says will keep him going when he gets tired.
“I remember going camping with him, and no matter how tired or worn out he was he never gave up he never complained, so when I’m drained I’ll be thinking about that,” said Kaplan.
Cole Shuber is another teenager who’s learned lots of life lessons from Hardy, and now he wants to give back to a man who has given so much to him.
“With everything going on, he really isn’t in a position to hike which is something he loved, so I want him to know I’m doing this — we are doing this — for him,” said Shuber.
Troop 50 is doing three 12-mile hikes and finishing off the last two days each with an 8-mile hike.
So far they’ve raised nearly $3,600. To help the Troop 50 reach their goal, click here.