Hiking Hero: Dolphin Riggs helps women heal after cancer

Dolphin Riggs is most at home when she’s hiking in the woods.

With every step the 74-year-old takes, she is empowering women. 

In 2018, Riggs, who lives in Athens, started the nonprofit ‘Hiking for Healing’ after battling breast cancer the previous year. 

She says instead of letting the diagnosis get her down, she got motivated, using her own experience as a way to support others fighting the disease.

“At first it was going to be for just breast cancer patients and survivors and then I thought, how can I do that. This is a women’s organization and women have all kinds of cancers and they still need that love, unconditional love and that care that we can give each other," Riggs told Channel 3.

The nonprofit’s mission is to help cancer survivors, families and friends through outdoor adventures.

"Nature is just rejuvenating. Go out and put your feet in the grass with no shoes on for awhile and let mother earth rejuvenate you. Get out in the trees. There’s energy there, natural energy, energy that we need to rejuvenate ourselves. You’ll feel that smile," said Riggs.

The women, from all different backgrounds, join together to provide encouragement and friendship.

"I tell people you don't stop. Tomorrow is a better day or at least another day. If you don't believe you can do it, you won't be able to," said Riggs.

Hiking for Healing has grown to include nearly 300 members.

The group has trekked all over the region together putting thousands of miles on their boots.

Riggs calls the ladies “the dolphin pod.”

"I think I get back much more than I give. I really do believe that," Riggs told Channel 3. 

Throughout her life, Riggs says nature has helped her get through tough times and now it’s helping others move on from a difficult time as well.

When they're not hiking, the group stays connected on the Hiking for Healing Facebook page.