Rosie stops in Milan in trek around world

Aaron Krause • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:51 PM

Rose Swale Pope could talk about her adventures when you're literally running around the world, there's hardly a shortage of them.

But during a recent stop in Milan, the thin, 60-year-old Welsh woman didn't wish to dwell on her encounters with creatures such as bears and wolves.

Such experiences are merely metaphors for life, Pope said. Its real adventures are milestones such as birthdays, falling in love and simple things such as hearing funny stories.

Which brings us to Pope's real reason for traversing the globe: Spreading awareness about the importance of cancer screenings, and organizations dedicated to fighting the disease.

And so Pope crosses vast countries and small villages such as Milan, lugging little more than her cart, named "Charlie," and her tent, and sleeping whenever and wherever she can find a spot.

Pope began her journey in October 2003, and has gone through 50 notebooks filled with newspaper clippings and well-wishes from those she's encountered. If Pope runs as fast as she talks (a mile a second perhaps?) she will be through book 100 in no time.

There's a robotic quality to Pope's speech, as though someone programmed her to speak before she even met you. At the same time, there's hardly a monotonous pitch or tone to her voice. Neither does she speak in a foreboding voice while encouraging people to get cancer screenings.

A hint of a smile dotted her lined face and sweaty hair protruded from her scarf as she charming spoke tones about the preciousness of life.

Pope said people are generally too busy and feel they are too healthy to make a doctor's appointment.

But, we're not too busy to take our car in for service when it breaks down, or call a repairman when our refrigerator malfunctions, Pope said. She added that if our pet doesn't feel well, we call the veterinarian.

"For goodness sake, you're important too," she said. "The best treatment that exists and the least expensive is to get early cancer screenings. Early screenings save lives."

Pope found that out the hard way. By the time her husband started exhibiting symptoms of prostate cancer, it was too late; the disease had already spread to his bones.

"The death of my husband, Clive, from prostate cancer last year taught me more than anything about how precious life is," Pope wrote on her Web site,www.rosiearoundtheworld.co.uk.

"How short it can be, that you have to grab life, do what you can while you can, and try to give something back."

Pope thanked everybody in Milan for making her feel at home during her short stay.

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