German bicyclist travels through Crestview during journey of hope

Randolph Westphal

Randolph Westphal — pictured Monday evening at the Quality Inn in Crestview with his Siberian huskies, Chinook, left, and Nanook — is on a journey of hope throughout Florida.

MATTHEW BROWN / News Bulletin
Published: Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 07:18 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Randolph Westphal wants people to know they should never give up.

The 55-year-old German — who passed through Crestview this week — bicycles through several countries, with help from his Siberian husky dogs, Chinook and Nanook, to prove there's always hope.

He should know; doctors diagnosed him with malignant melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, in 1987. Since then, he has received 28 cancer-related surgeries; four were life threatening. On top of that, a 1996 hit-and-run nearly took his left leg and he had to use a wheelchair for a year. And he was hospitalized in August with a bacterial infection.

But all adversity fades quickly in the past when it's possible for Westphal to get back on the bike. He brings a message of endurance with people in cancer support groups, hospitals and universities.

"I just tell them my story," he said. "A lot of people find hope in a good story."  

Westphal purchased a car to assist in his travels, under doctor's advice. However, it has not deterred him from his life's mission: to raise worldwide awareness of perseverance.

The Quality Inn hotel, near the Interstate 10 exit in Crestview, provided a free room Monday night for Westphal and his 8- and 10-year-old dogs. Westphal said he lives on donations from people he meets.

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