MARIETTA, Ga. - A grandmother, who has embarked on the ultimate journey following a devastating loss and learning she has cancer, was in metro Atlanta this week as she celebrated a major milestone.
Last year, in a two-week period, Norma learned her husband, Leo, was dying and that she had a large, likely cancerous mass on her uterus. Two days after Leo passed away, Norma was in a doctor's office learning about surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Once the doctor finished telling Norma her options, he asked her how she'd like to proceed.
"I'm 90-years-old, I'm hitting the road," she told her doctor.
That was in August. Now, about eight months later, she's still on the road with her son and daughter-in-law and she's loving life! They've seen Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Disney World and more recently the beaches along Georgia's coast. They spent the winter in Florida and are now working their way up the East Coast, "chasing spring."
Thursday, FOX 5 was there as Miss Norma celebrated her 91st birthday in the historic Marietta Square. She rolled up with her family in a red, 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, with a crown on her head.
Dozens of people showed up to wish her a happy birthday and say hello, including members of the Marietta Fire Department.
"I don't know what to say," Miss Norma told FOX 5. "It is overwhelming for sure."
Tim Bauerschmidt, her son, said he's astonished by how viral his mother's story has gone. He said it's amazing what the trip has done for her.
"She's blossoming," said Bauerschmidt, with a smile on his face. "It took her 91 years to grow up."
Miss Norma told us she never thought her journey would inspire so many people. The Facebook page "Driving Miss Norma" has more than 339,000 followers and it continues to grow.
Miss Norma said she chose Marietta to celebrate her big day because someone suggested she try "The Local," which is where she enjoyed a birthday brunch. She also said Marietta has been her favorite place so far.
Happy birthday, Miss Norma!