Consider this: 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will face cancer at some point of their life. For me, these stats are too overwhelming to be ignored.
One woman decided to do something about it. Vicky Lynn, a middle aged cancer survivor, woke up one day and decided to spread the message of awareness by visiting cancer patients around the world. Not only that, she decided to do it solo on a bike.
As someone who saw his mom suffer from cancer and who witnessed the slow and laborious progress of her recovery, I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to share this interview.
Hey Vicky, please tell us a bit about yourself. What is a middle aged, mid-menopausal cancer survivor, who survived molestation, rape, and domestic violence, doing traveling solo by bicycle around the world?
This question is easy to answer, I am traveling as a “change agent” for survivors. As a survivor, I am here to represent those who may not know how to represent themselves in the battles they may face in any number of life challenges.
What or who inspired you to embark on this journey and become a change agent for cancer survivors? Do you have any role models?
This one is a bit tougher, I would say that I have been most inspired by the pediatric cancer patients I have hosted for annual Livestrong Day events. Children should never have to deal with cancer, but I have found that when they are faced with this disease, they bring new meaning to the words courage and strength. My role models would be those kids.
What were some of the reactions of your friends and family when you told them about your upcoming trip?
Some of them were very supportive and others just thought I was crazy. My father said I was either crazy or extremely courageous. I told him it was a little bit of both.
How long, do you think, will you keep traveling/volunteering? is there an end date? What is your ultimate goal with this trip?
I am not sure how long I will travel and volunteer, my heart will let me know when it is time to stop, just as it guides me now when I am not sure what to do. My ultimate goal is to show everyone that I encounter that kindness is a more valuable currency than money and that what we put out to the universe is what will return. I want to show that the simplest way to bring happiness into your life is to find a way to make someone else happy.
Has the bike trip changed your outlook on life? If yes, how?
Absolutely, this bike trip has changed my outlook on life. I have learned that “things” really aren’t that important. I have learned that there are more kind strangers than you would ever imagine. I have learned that I can argue my limitations.
You invited others to join you on your website. Has anyone accepted your invitation and have you met interesting people along the way?
I have met many interesting people along the way, some of them hosted me in their homes and many of them didn’t know me until that time. I have been helped by people from churches to bar owners, people from all walks of life.
What are some of the places you have visited so far? Any place that holds a special spot in your heart?
I have been down the entire east coast and will soon be leaving for California and heading out across country. I can’t say there is any one place that sticks out at this point, there are many places that hold special memories all for different reasons.
What has been the biggest challenge you encountered on your trip so far?
Wild animals, bears in North Carolina, and bobcats in Florida. The bears were just a threat I was told to watch out for. I had walked to a night spot and after arriving was told I would need to watch for bears on my return, the owner was kind enough to take me back to where I was staying. The cats came out on a trail I was hiking in Florida, I never turned around so fast in my entire life.
What is your definition of happiness? Have you found any shortcuts to obtaining it?
Happiness for me is not a destination you arrive at. It is a constant state of mind and heart. The easiest way for anyone to feel true happiness is to find a way to create happiness for someone else.
Talk a little about your personal life. What do you think readers would be most surprised to know about you?
I am not sure what readers would be most surprised to know about me considering I lay out some pretty serious life challenges that I have faced and that seems to be a shock to most. I would have to say that the other thing that shocks readers most is that I have 10 grandchildren.
You've developed strength and character throughout your journey, what is your message to women who are currently experiencing volatile life and increasing hardships? What is your best advice for someone suffering from abuse or molestation?
This is a tough question to answer. First I would say, you are not alone and life can get better. Whatever stories you are telling yourself about the suffering, the abuse, the molestation, change the story and get help. Contact local organizations that can assist you, you are worth it. I am always available to chat, feel free to send me a message.
Thank you Vicky, You're a great inspiration. How people can get in touch with you or sponsor you on your journey?
I can be reached through the website; www.unlimited-smileage.com I have a contact page for simple email. There is a dedication page for dedicating my travels to a loved one. If anyone would like to sponsor me or make a donation there are links to do so. Sponsors have featured links on the site and individual donors are listed by name. There are also Karma cards available for a small donation and the proceeds will also help me continue to spread the kindness and smiles and give the opportunity for others to join in the fun.
Vicky Lynn is a cancer survivor who cycles around the world in the hope of helping others find the key to their own healing. Visit her at unlimited-smileage.com.