Cyclist Randolph Westphal isn’t letting 28 cancer surgeries slow him down.
The 55-year-old man from Frankfurt, German was first diagnosed with malignant melanoma (skin cancer) in 1987 and given six months to live. This weekend he made a stop in Nelson on his sixth bike trip around the world, his message along the way — hope.
“I show people never give up,” he said, crediting his optimism to saving his life.
Westphal speaks about his story of survival and determination to university students, cancer support groups and hospital workers.
Travelling with his two dogs, Nanook and Chinook Westphal has encountered adventure along the way and some great hardship.
While in Argentina, Westphal was in a horrific accident. He and his first dog were struck down by a hit-and-run driver. The dog was killed and Westphal suffered a brain injury and had his left leg torn from his body. Over five years through 48 operations doctors were able to save him and his leg.
And then he went back on the road.
“Don’t sit in the corner and wait for death,” he said. “I like to inspire people.”
A little tired from the pedal, Westphal arrived in Nelson from Revelstoke on Saturday and was given free accommodations at the Prestige Inn. Over the next six months, he plans to travel 40,000 km on his electrical bike. By the end of the journey, he will have accumulated about 250,000 km among all six trips.
On a budget of under $20 a day, Westphal relies on the kindness of strangers and his love of the journey. For more information his website is randolph-westphal.de