Norma Jean Bauerschmidt was diagnosed with stage four uterine cancer at the age of 90, but instead of turning to traditional treatment, she decided to take an alternative route.
Bauerschmidt, who also goes by "Driving Miss Norma" on Facebook, hit the road with her son Tim and daughter-in-law Ramie for an epic RV road trip across the U.S. in August 2015, People reports.
“I’m 90 years old,” she told her son last year, People reports. “I’m not interested in going through that. I’m hitting the road.”
On Friday, the 91-year-old Michigan woman passed away.
Looking through photos of Bauerschmidt's year, it was quite obvious she loved adventure.
Photos from her trip include visiting The San Juan Preservation Trust in Washington to going through Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota to even checking out the sponge docks at Tarpon Springs, Florida.
According to People, Bauerschmidt will be cremated and buried next to her late husband Leo, who died the same year she was diagnosed with cancer.
In her obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posted on the weekend, her son Tim said he "had no idea of what a special person she was.”
With so much attention from strangers around the world online, Tim admitted he was angry with his wife Ramie at first after photos she posted of his mother went viral. He later realized how important the message was.
“I think we’ve given people permission to talk — to think outside of the box — on these things,” Ramie told the newspaper.
And although it is a time to celebrate the former Second World War nurse, Tim and Ramie also talk about the importance of elder care and end of life care.
As written on Bauerschmidt's Facebook page, readers got a glimpse of how doctors felt the day the 91-year-old told them she didn't want to be treated for cancer.
"We explained to the well-meaning doctor and his student that we live in an RV and that we would be taking her wherever she wanted to go. He didn’t hesitate to say, 'RIGHT ON!' We asked if he thought us irresponsible for this approach. His reply was telling.
'As doctors,' he said, 'we see what cancer treatment looks like every day: ICU, nursing homes, awful side effects. Honestly, there is no guarantee she will survive the initial surgery to remove the mass. You are doing exactly what I would want to do in this situation. Have a fantastic trip!'”
Learn more about Bauerschmidt's life in the video above.
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