iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A 91-year-old woman who chose to hit the road over spending her days undergoing chemotherapy treatments and inspired hundreds of thousands in the process, has died.
Norma Bauerschmidt, the inspiration behind the Facebook page “Driving Miss Norma,” was diagnosed with uterine cancer just two days after her husband of 67 years had passed. Upon hearing the diagnosis, she told doctors, “I’m 90-years-old, I’m hitting the road.”
And hit the road she did. Joining her son Tim and daughter-in-law Ramie in their RV, the trio — plus their poodle Ringo — traveled 13,000 miles and visited 75 locations in 32 states in one year. Their journey began on Aug. 24, 2015.
A year later, the family’s travels were addressed in a Facebook post.
“Miss Norma has experienced more ‘firsts’ than we can count. Big things, like riding in a hot air balloon or on a horse, to little things like getting a pedicure or having her first taste of key lime pie, oysters and fried green tomatoes. She has had her hair done by ten different stylists and has crossed the time zones 9 times (I think.) Over these past 12 months, all of us have learned so much about living, caring, loving and embracing the present moment. No matter where we are, when asked where her favorite spot has been on this trip, Norma now says, ‘Right here!’ We have also learned so much about the human spirit and the beauty of people from all over the world.”
Bauerschmidt and her family celebrated their year on the road with cake and beer.
But last month Bauerschmidt’s health had begun to deteriorate. The RV was parked in the “most ideal place we could imagine”: San Juan Island in the Pacific Northwest.
On Sept. 30, the Driving Miss Norma Facebook page read: “Life is a balance between holding on and letting go. Today we are letting go.”
Ramie, Norma’s daughter-in-law, told ABC News earlier this year they hoped the adventure would help other families have conversations about end-of-life plans.
“Everyone has different ideas about how they want the end of their life to work,” Ramie said. “As a planet, we need to have this conversation.”
Bauerschmidt’s celebration of life will take place in Friday Harbor, Washington, on Oct. 7. When Bauerschmidt was asked how she wanted people to pay their respects, she simply said: “Wouldn’t it be nice if others could just spread joy in the world.”
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