Columbia, SC (WLTX) - As the early morning light shone through the trees on the Congaree River Wednesday, Hunt Summerford reflected.
He knew what this day could have been, without the most important person in his life.
"My mom, a little of a year ago, was diagnosed with breast cancer," Hunt said."It was scary; when we first found out we didn't know how bad it was."
Now, he's on a mission for her. He's going to travel by water all the way to Charleston.
His mom Libby stood by his side on Rosewood boat landing.
"It was a year ago this week that I had successful surgery and he just felt like he needed to do something," said Libby.
Now she's Hunt's cheerleader, as he paddleboards 160 miles from Columbia to Charleston.
"I looked on the map, just to see how far I could go and I was like wow I can get from Columbia to Charleston by water. That's kind of how it got started," said Hunt.
The 26-year-old spent the past two months raising money for cancer research and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. He calls it paddle for the cure. So far he's raised $4,000.
"I think it's great, I had no clue. This is my first time, I had no clue how much money we would raise. So yeah $4,000 is great," said Hunt.
He will be breaking the trip up into four days, camping with his friend, who is kayaking beside him. It's a journey that brings a smile to his mom's face.
"My heart hurts it's so full. I'm so proud of him. He's had a passion for this. As soon as he thought of it he couldn't get it out of his head he had to pursue it," said Libby.
While his mother is doing well today, Hunt hopes this trip will help others, reflect on what's most important in life. "I'm very excited. I've been talking about it for so long I'm ready to go. I'm really excited though," said Hunt.
He should arrive in Charleston at the Maritime Center on Sunday.
We here at News19 are committed to preventing breast cancer. We partner with Palmetto Health for Buddy Call 19. On the 19th of each month we ask that you call your buddy and remind her to do a self breast exam. To sign up just go to the Buddy Call page located HERE.
If you would like to donate to Hunt's cause, log onto www.passionatelypink.com and select the "Give to a team" tab. Click "Search for a team" and type in "Paddle for the cure."