I met a man named Hank today without a stomach, and he says his kidneys are going, too, and, yet, he’s been climbing Stone Mountain whenever he can for the past 12 years. The endearing former special education teacher, originally from Pennsylvania and Long Island, NY, radiated warmth, had peaceful eyes, and stood out in his goofy, oversized camouflage fleece, and unless he’d said anything, his health issues would’ve remained invisible to me. Years ago, when he first climbed the mountain, he weighed 180 lbs, but three years later he was down to 120 after surgery to remove what he described as his “rotting innards”.
"Walking up the mountain, if I do this three or four times in a week, which I rarely have the opportunity to do, but if I do, and I didn't feel a whole, whole lot better the sixth time, I'd know I was in trouble. But I am in trouble if I don't do this kind of exercise, so it really really helps me...every way,” he said.