WATSONTOWN, Pa. -- It was the dream of a Northumberland County woman to travel the United States when she retired. She passed away from cancer two years ago, and now, her family and friends are fulfilling that dream for her.
Steve Grace and his wife Brenda loved to travel together. That's how they planned to spend their days in retirement until Brenda was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer.
"She went to the doctor one day not feeling well, came home with a 102-degree fever. Next day, she was told she had cancer. Third day, told her it was Stage 4. From the 21st of September to the 19th of March, 179 days, she was gone," Steve Grace said.
It was Brenda's lifelong dream to travel the country. That's why after she passed away in 2017, her family and friends started the Take Brenda Along Facebook page.
Friends, family members, even people who just found out about the group on Facebook, paint rocks and leave them all across the country and the world.
If you find a rock somewhere, you can pick it up, take it with you on your travels, then place it in a new spot where someone else can find it.
Then you can post a picture to the Facebook page so Brenda's family and friends can see where she's been.
"South Carolina, California, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Texas, Arkansas, Michigan," Steve said, listing the states the rocks have been to.
And the list goes on. So far, Brenda has been all across the United States and the world, traveling as far as Vietnam, Hong Kong, Paris, and Vienna.
"People that don't even know her have picked the rocks up, read the story. She's traveling worldwide now."
Patricia Wertz was one of Brenda's best friends. She placed the very first rock in honor of Brenda over a year ago and now she brings painted rocks with her everywhere she goes.
"I feel like when I paint a rock and touch it and place it, I'm carrying out her memory, her love, her love of travel. It makes me feel good inside and it makes me still feel very close to her," Wertz said.
Next week, Steve is leaving to spend three weeks in Alaska.
"It'll be a very emotional trip, because it's something my wife and I had planned."
But he will be carrying her memory with him, leaving these rocks along the way in her honor.