Pacific Crest hiker battling lymphoma: 'I looked death in the eye'

Pacific Crest hiker battling lymphoma: 'I looked death in the eye' »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Can you imagine walking more than 20 miles a day or walking over 2,600 miles? That's the mission of an inspiring young man who's battling a devastating disease.

"I looked death in the eye and I saw that it’s not that scary,” said Andy Lyon.

Andy Lyon has been fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma since he was 18 years old. He's now 23 and has been through chemo and a stem cell transplant to try and stop the disease. But when the cancer came back again, Andy said enough was enough. Instead of more chemotherapy, he decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from Mexico to the Canadian border.

"To seek my own healing and this is the cornerstone of my own idea of healing," he said.

It's no easy feat. It's reported more people have climbed Mt. Everest than have completed the 2,650 miles of the Pacific Crest. His mother has always supported his goals, but she admits she was doubtful.

"As far as physically, I just didn't know. But he proved me wrong every step of the way. I mean look at where he is," said Betsy Gosselin.

He was so close, when suddenly Andy's lymphoma landed him at Yakima's Memorial hospital. A tumor was pressing against his spine causing numbness and weakness in his leg. But it’s only made him more determined to finish.

"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," said Lyon.

“You wouldn't even expect somebody with his condition to have started this, but it became very important to him,” said his oncologist, Dr. Albert Brady.

"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.

On Wednesday Andy received his first dose of a new type of targeted treatment with a high success rate prescribed by Dr. Brady. Andy plans to get back on the trail by Saturday hoping to complete the journey by October 21st.