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    Louisvillian Caleb Payne is a colon cancer survivor who is taking his story on the road. Caleb is leaving the Louisville area this Thursday, March 12 to embark on a great journey. He is going to hike the more than 2,000 miles of the  Appalachian Trail and his mission is simply to raise awareness about colon cancer and it being a preventable disease. He is a retired Louisville firefighter and was one of 2,600 Kentuckians diagnosed with colon cancer in 2013. He received surgery and excellent treatment, and is now healthy. Caleb is highly motivated to help others avoid the struggle that going through colon cancer can bring to people. Colon cancer is the number two cancer killer. He'd like to raise awareness and funds to fight this disease.

    This Thursday, he leaves the comfort of his home to begin a seven month journey to hike the Appalachian Trail. His decision to do so comes two years after having been diagnosed with late-state colon cancer. As a young boy in the Boy Scouts, he hiked the Smoky Mountains and always had a dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail, and upon surviving his bout with colon cancer decided to make his dream a reality.

    While hiking the area, Caleb will make stops in various small mountain towns and share his story. His main goal is to educate people in colon cancer prevention. The journey will be more than 2,190 miles long, and you can help Caleb by helping him reach his goal of raising $13,000. The goal is to receive $1 in honor of every Kentuckian diagnosed with colon cancer in the last five years. Money raised will go to the Colon Cancer Prevention Project. Payne says, “I truly believe that if I had not scheduled a colonoscopy when I did, I would not be able to share my experience. There are timely screenings that can prevent this disease.” Caleb will also be keeping a blog during his journey on his website,

    March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month; you can learn more about the Colon Cancer Prevention Project by heading to The Colon Cancer Prevention Project is Kentucky’s only non-profit focused solely on the fight to end colon cancer. Its work has helped Kentucky’s colon cancer incidence drop 25 percent in the last decade, and mortality to drop 28 percent. Also find out more on this Facebook page.

    Photo courtesy of Caleb Payne

    Erin Nevitt's picture

    About Erin Nevitt

    Longtime Louisvillian, I am a children's librarian at heart and have a passion for children's lit. I am most recently a stay-at-home mom who is always on the move, searching for family fun in Louisville. If it's free, it's preferable!

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