The woman who became an internet sensation after going on the road instead of undergoing cancer treatment has died this week, aged 91.
Norma Bauerschmidt was 90 when she diagnosed with terminal cancer. She declined treatment and instead find a more positive way to spend her final days – taking a year long road trip across the United States with her son, Tim, and daughter-in-law, Ramie, in their motor home.
The Facebook page, Driving Miss Norma, set up so she could document her travels, quickly attracting more than 440,000 followers.
Mrs Bauerschmidt, from Michigan, spent just over a year on the road with her son Tim and his wife, Ramie Liddle, in their motor home. When she died this week, she had travelled more than 13,000 miles (20,900km) and visited 34 states.
The adventure began in July 2015, when, after a routine scan, Mrs Bauerschmidt’s doctors told her she had terminal cancer. It was just two days after the death of her husband, Leo.
Her daughter-in-law Ramie recalls, on Norma’s Facebook page that the doctor explained the diagnosis, and the likely course of treatment; surgery, radiation and chemo. “When the doctor was finished he asked her how she would like to proceed.
“A tiny woman at 101 pounds and under five-feet tall, an exhausted Norma looked the young doctor dead in the eye and with the strongest voice she could muster, said, ‘I’m 90-years-old, I’m hitting the road.’
As Mrs Bauerschmidt’s Facebook following grew, they had started to get invitations to all sorts of events and gatherings – including an Atlanta Hawks basketball game and countless people’s homes for dinner in the evenings.
The family’s journey included harvesting hazelnuts in Friday Harbour in Washington, taking part in the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, visiting Yellowstone National Park and touring the Massachusetts coast. Mrs Bauerschmidt even managed to fulfil one of her lifetime ambitions when she took a ride in a hot air balloon in Florida.
Ms Liddle said her mother-in-law had been a very humble woman with no grand needs, but she had had a very clear idea about what had been important to her.