‘Semi-Colon’ summits the Appalachian Trail!


Survivor Caleb PayneJust two years after conquering late-stage colon cancer, retired Louisville firefighter Caleb Payne has accomplished another amazing feat: hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Earlier this month, Payne stood on the summit of Mount Katadin in Maine wearing his “Survivor” t-shirt, smiling proudly after hiking alone for 5 months through 12 states.

A 5K Appearance

On Aug. 22, Payne – whose trail name is “Semi-Colon” – will be appearing before a record crowd at the Colon Cancer Prevention Project’s 10th Annual Kicking Butt 5K, where he will be the Honorary Survivor. The event starts at 9 a.m. (festivities at 8 a.m.) at Iroquois Park.

The Project also will be honoring Payne at an event, called “Celebrating Our Semi-Colon” in September. The event is open to the public, and more details will come soon!

A Boyhood Dream

Payne had dreamed of hiking the trail since he was a young Boy Scout hiking the Smokey Mountains.

It wasn’t until after surviving the No. 2 cancer killer among men and women that Payne decided to make this dream a reality.

During his 2,190-mile journey, Payne stopped mountain towns to share his story and educate others about how they can prevent colon cancer. He was featured on myriad local and national media including CNN.

Payne’s journey has raised more than $4,000 for the Colon Cancer Prevention Project, a non-profit based in Kentucky that works to increase colon cancer screening rates and stop the disease. Payne has a club of supporters called the “Semi-Colon Club” who have followed his journey.

A September Celebration

In September, Payne and his supporters will come together for an event to continue to raise funds for this mission on Sept. 24 at Molly Malone’s on Shelbyville Road in Louisville. The event is presented by Polymedco. More info and an RSVP form are here. 

Donations can be made in honor of a loved one, and people can share their stories and memories with Payne, who will post a photo from his travels during the time of the donation.

Payne said he wants to make sure people know that timely screenings can prevent this disease.

“I truly believe that if I had not scheduled a colonoscopy when I did, I would not be able to share my experience,” he said.

Payne blogged during his journey on his web site, kysemicolon.com.