Daredevil Grandma Living Her "Bucket List"

This story was originally broadcast Sept. 11, 2009

Susie Mann, a 79-year-old grandmother, has always been a bit of a daredevil. She's gone swimming with sharks, paddled down a foaming river on a raft, and even harnessed herself to a bungee cord for a 400-foot cliff dive over Africa's Zambezi River.

Mann told "Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez, "I don't think I've ever been scared of the unknown. I think I take it as a challenge."

Now, Mann's been diagnosed with terminal intestinal cancer. However, she refuses to slow down.

Mann said on "The Early Show" Friday, "Enjoy life. Absolutely enjoy it. It's a gift."

Mann was told she had cancer last spring. Her doctor said she had six-to-nine months to live.

How did she react? "I said, 'Oh good, that'll give us time to do things.' And he almost fell off the chair!"

The grandmother of four has created a "bucket list" of adventures she will complete with her family by her side.

Mann went hang-gliding recently, flying 2,500 feet above her family, who watched her from below.

"It was great," Mann said. "It really was. It was so quiet up there. You really felt like a bird."

Next on her list is to go skydiving, this coming weekend. Soon, she also plans to swim with dolphins and descend into the Grand Canyon on a donkey.

Mann has refused treatment for her cancer. Her reason? She told Rodriguez, simply, "Who wants to be sick all that time?"

Mann's daughter, Louise Weadock, said she wishes her mother would receive treatment. However, she said she admires her mother's ability to move forward, despite the diagnosis.

Weadlock said, "There are times when we want to sit back on the curb, lick our wounds, have our own little pity party, and she's out there playing the game."

Rodriguez asked Mann what she says to people who are feeling down.

She responded, "Get over it. Get over it. I don't have any time for that. ... I love life. I really do. I've been very, very, very lucky."

To Mann, dying is another part of living. She said, "It doesn't have to come to an end. It can be a beginning. ... Dying is just another page of life, just a different journey in a different place."


Read Susie Mann's blog.
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