At the age of 90, Norma, a frail woman weighing approximately 100 pounds and standing no taller than 5 feet, lost Leo, her husband and best friend of 67 years.

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To make matters worse, within the same two week span Norma herself was found to have a cancerous mass on her uterus.

Wanting to do all that they could to help Norma overcome her sickness, doctors ran her through the usual options: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Rather than taking the conventional route, however, Norma surprised her medical team by responding, “I’m 90 years old, I’m hitting the road.”

The most amazing thing about her answer? She meant it literally.

She had no interest in any form of treatment and instead wanted to spend the rest of her life travelling the world that she has loved for over 90 years.

This is not a bad choice for her given chemotherapy would most definitely destroy her quality of life within a matter of weeks, and may even kill her in the process. Instead she can choose to live whatever time she has left in joy. Maybe she will even see improvements.

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Since that point, she has done just that, alongside her son Tim, his wife Ramie, and a poodle named Ringo. The team embarked on their journey in an RV camper, starting in North Michigan and making their first major stop at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

Wanting to document this unconventional response to a life-threatening illness, the group started a Facebook group titled Driving Miss Norma, which regularly posts updates of Norma’s latest travels.

Here are some of the more memorable images I came across, including one from her most recent stop at the Detroit Riverfront for Independence Day:

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Miss Norma chose this beautiful mermaid for her merry-go-round ride. (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

Cooling off with the rest of the kids on the Fourth of July. (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

Cooling off with the rest of the kids on the Fourth of July. (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

The Zelie Lion has been here for at least 40 years! It took Miss Norma's visit to tame him. (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

The Zelie Lion has been here for at least 40 years! It took Miss Norma’s visit to tame him. (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

Pittsburgh's three rivers and the three musketeers who explored them today. We love this city! (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

Pittsburgh’s three rivers and the three musketeers who explored them today. We love this city! (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

Miss Norma feeds a friendly flock. (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

Miss Norma feeds a friendly flock. (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

The wind and the mist couldn't wipe the smile off Miss Norma's face under the famous falls. (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

The wind and the mist couldn’t wipe the smile off Miss Norma’s face under the famous falls. (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

Co-captains meet at center court. (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

Co-captains meet at center court. (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

Stop everything! We just got word that Miss Norma will be on CBS News with Scott Pelley TONIGHT. (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

Stop everything! We just got word that Miss Norma will be on CBS News with Scott Pelley TONIGHT. (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

You get the idea! (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

You get the idea! (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

Best solution! (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

Best solution! (Facebook: Driving Miss Norma)

Although Norma’s battle with cancer continues, you have to appreciate her approach to life since the diagnosis. And while there is no scientific evidence to support this, I like to believe that all that fun and joy are helping her to maintain health just as well, if not better, than any conventional treatment would have.

The world is a beautiful place — let Norma inspire you to experience as much of it as possible.


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