By Gregory Woods firstname.lastname@example.org
SUMMERVILLE, S. C. (WCIV) -- Most kids spend the day after Christmas playing with their new toy, but 18 Summerville Boy Scouts, will spend Dec. 26 embarking on the journey of their lives.
Last January, the mother of the troop's scout master passed away from bladder cancer. Her death inspired her grandson and fellow his Boy Scouts to spread the word about the disease through a 51-mile hike.
Now, nearly a year later and more than 100 miles of training, Scout Master Glenn Justis gave his last speech Saturday. It was the final training session before the boys begin their journey on Thursday.
"My mom would be very proud of these boys," said Justis. "They were really her kids. She used to come meet them after camping trips, so I know she is looking down very proud."
The Boy Scouts are carrying survival backpacks that weigh 30 pounds. The backpacks are filled with a first aid kit, hygiene products, food and sleeping bags, and other things that will help them on their five-day journey.
Scouts like Tre'von Flood, not only carry the tools to survive the journey but also the memories of his Scout Master's mom.
"When she passed away, it really kind of broke my heart because I really miss her and I thought we had a really good connection," said Flood.
The hike is a little more personal for Justis' son, Joe Justis. He believes the hike will encourage those suffering from bladder cancer to fight, just like his grandmother did.
"I hope this sort of gives them hope that they can win the battle," said Joe.
For these little troopers, it's now a battle against Mother Nature.
"They have to go to the bathroom in the woods," said Glenn Justis. "They had to learn wilderness survival skills, first aid, camping, cooking- there's a lot of scout skills that come into play in trying to put together a hike of this magnitude."
The Scouts will begin their journey the day after Christmas at the Swamp Fox Passage in Awendaw and finish at Camp Moultrie Dec 31 at about 11 a.m.. Justis said volunteers will cook the boys a special meal and they hope to organize guest speakers. The public is welcome to attend.
The Boy Scout troop hopes their hike will raise $51,000 for the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, to help fund research to find a cure.
If you would like to donate or learn more about bladder cancer, click here.