Four years ago, at age 27, avid outdoorsman Andrew Stevens was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and given mere months to live. Against all odds, he continued living a passionate, adventure-filled life—running, hiking, and backpacking in his beloved Blue Ridge Mountains. He passed away on January 30, 2009, but his spirit of service and passion for the outdoors live on.
“In the face of what could have been a crippling burden, Andrew grew more vital and in many ways more alive then he had ever been, said Bill Wilson, operations director for Blue Ridge Mountain Sports in Glen Allen, Va., where Stevens worked as store manager for 11 years. “He demonstrated an abiding passion for the wild world around him and complained only about his inability to spend more time on the trail.”
Last October, Stevens lead a fundraiser hike called “Cancer Takes a Hike” supporting the Colon Cancer Alliance, (CCA). After the hike, Stevens expressed his gratitude: “Every time I get to go on a hike, I take back one of the greatest things cancer took from me. Every trip is a small victory for everyone I’ve lost to cancer…and for everyone who has struggled and suffered with, supported and loved me through this entire ordeal. The excitement and joy I get from a hike balances out the anxiety and despair I have for trips to the chemo lab. I cannot do one without the other. Chemo may have saved my life, but hiking makes me feel alive.”
In remembrance of Stevens, Blue Ridge Mountain Sports will lead a “Cancer Takes a Hike” trip each fall as a fundraiser for the Colon Cancer Alliance.
“He was a dedicated husband, son, brother, friend, and inspiration to all that had the pleasure to know him,” said Kurt Peterson, Stevens’ friend and co-worker at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports. “He was a tireless beacon of energy and hope, and the world will be a little darker without his light.”
For more information or to make a donation in memory of Andrew Stevens, visit brmsstore.com/blogs/community.