55-year-old Isabella de la Houssaye lived an amazingly active lifestyle.
She never drank and never smoked. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in January 2018.
She had been crossing some items off her bucket list since then, including racing in the Ironman World Championships and completing 50 marathons in 50 different states.
She is now striving to go on one last adventure with each of her children to teach them about “joy and suffering” while pushing them to their limits.
In an interview with The New York Times, the mother-of-five and her 22-year-old daughter, Bella Crane, described how they hiked to the top of Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in Western and Southern Hemispheres.
De la Houssaye said that she and her husband David Crane, raised all five children to be outdoor enthusiasts. This is how Christopher, Oliver, Bella, David, and Cason achieved feats such as rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
It was in January 2018 when she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. “I had a good size tumor, seven centimeters, in my lungs. My entire sacrum [the pelvis] was cancer,” she told People. “I had six tumors in my brain, I had them in my sternum, I had them in my pelvis. It was a huge wake-up call.”
De la Houssaye went under chemotherapy to alleviate the pain and shrink the tumors. She credits her “clean living” lifestyle for her survival. She told The Times that she wanted to experience one last adventure with each of her children.
In April 2018, she hiked over 500 miles along the Camino de Santiago, a Catholic pilgrimage route in Spain, with Oliver.
Two months later, she ran a marathon in Alaska with Cason. In September 2018, she and David joined the Ironman Triathlon in South Korea.
In January 2019, she and Bella climbed Aconcagua. There were a lot of struggles such as difficulty eating because of nausea. Her bones had also become brittle and she was more susceptible to the cold.
“I feel that I went from my parents’ house to my husband’s house to having kids, and just when I think I’m going to be free I get this diagnosis,” she told The Times.
At the base came, she decided she would not be climbing mountains anymore. “I’m going to take each day at a time, but have no illusion that I will get to the top.”
But when they reached the top, the mother and daughter embraced each other as tears fell down her cheeks. “The mountains always have a way of making me cry,” she expressed.
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