STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. - People who hike Stone Mountain may be there for exercise or to reach the summit and snap a few photos, but one hiker is on another type of mission. He isn’t doing it for his own health… he’s doing it to help others.
Krish Dhokia’s goal this summer was to summit the rock 100 times in a span of 90 days and he completed that goal on Sunday. His mission was, and still is, to raise funds and bring awareness to the cancers that kill children. It’s his second summer on this trek. Last year, funds he raised went to the organization Cure Childhood Cancer. This year, to an Atlanta based group called Rally.
Dhokia began Step Up Be A Voice, which is a blog, a Facebook page and a goal. His inspiration comes from two little girls who fought childhood cancer. One’s name was Carolyn and she beat the disease. The other is a little girl named Kylie…who didn’t.
“Kylie passed away in February and that kind of hit hard," said Dhokia. His aim is not to start another organization. He said there are some good organizations out there like Cure and Rally.
“My position is always to fundraise for organizations,” said Dhokia. He wants the funds to be used for research to stop the disease.
Along his path, Dhokia meets many who have entered the world of childhood cancer and they like what he’s doing. Laurinda Williams’ son had cancer at 19-years-old.
“I’m really inspired that someone took initiative to do this. Just to let parents know they are not alone," said Williams.
O.J. Greene has a four year old daughter named Peyton, who is battling Leukemia. Greene, his wife and their other children have entered a world without normal.
“Once your kid’s diagnosed with cancer, your life’s never normal again. Every cough, sneeze, bloody nose, all those things that normal kids have are all terrifying to us," said Greene. "I’m in the Childhood cancer world, but not by choice. I got dragged into this world kicking and screaming. Krish’s heart just blows me away that he would choose to be in this world when he didn’t have to.”
On Sunday, August 30, he met with others at the bottom of the trail for the 100th climb this summer. He said there were plans of a raffle fundraiser and there would be a helicopter flyover to video record those on the summit.
There was a huge turnout for the final climb. Photographer Brandy Angel ("Be The Change") participated in the final climb and shared some wonderful pictures with FOX 5.
"What an amazing event to be a part of and see so many familiar faces!" said Angel, who snaps pictures of people in need of help, such as a child with cancer or someone in need of a kidney.
The whole process has cost Dhokia some sweat, but he sees a perspective from others like Greene and Williams. He may not be personally related to a child with cancer, but he shares a passion as if he does.
“You have to have your ears, eyes and heart open to childhood cancer awareness…and that’s when you stop turning your back to it," said Dhokia.