90-Year-Old Chose A Year Of Travel Over Chemotherapy
She lived—and died—on her own terms.
Norma and Leo Bauerschmidt had been married 67 years when Leo passed away. Two days later, Norma received a uterine cancer diagnosis. When her doctor asked the 101-pound, not-quite-5-foot-tall widow how she would like to proceed, her response was unexpected.
“I’m 90 years old, I’m hitting the road.”
Norma couldn’t bear to live at home without Leo. Nor could she stand the thought of going through arduous cancer treatments at her age. She wanted to take every day of the life that remained and live it to the fullest.
With her physician’s blessing, Miss Norma, as she became so endearingly known, climbed aboard an RV with her son, Tim, daughter-in-law, Ramie, and their dog, Ringo. The gang left Michigan in late August 2015.
Over the next year, they drove thousands of miles, took in hundreds of sights and touched countless people. Their Facebook page, Driving Miss Norma, has over half a million followers. The many friendships Norma made and the “firsts” she experienced inspired people around the globe.
On her first subway ride, a new friend held onto her wheelchair so that she wouldn’t roll away.
The subway ride was not her only first. She enjoyed her first pedicure (Norma told Tim, “I’ll do it if you’ll do it…”).
She also had her first whole lobster, her first horse ride, and first trips to cities and states she had only dreamed about visiting.
Miss Norma even experienced her very first zip line.