Cancer Survivor Encountered God in the Wilderness

Edie Sundby

When Edie Sundby discovered she had stage 4 cancer, she embarked on a life-changing quest to draw close to God. For 55 days, she walked the 800 miles from San Diego to San Francisco, praying all the way. Now she's on an even longer walk. She says these big goals are one of the best ways to keep her spirit alive.

"So much of the cancer battle is a spiritual one," Sundby says. "The battle I fought was going to be won or lost on the spiritual battlefield, even though this is a physical battle."

Even after the removal of a lung plus 79 rounds and 1 million milligrams of chemo, Sundby is the first person in 250 years to walk the entire 1,600-mile El Camino Real Mission Trail from Loreto, Mexico, to Sonoma, California. Her faith powered her through the seemingly impossible.

"I just kept walking," Sundby says. "And as I walked, I became a walking prayer. ... I [reconnected with God] back on the old mission trail, walking these long, long distances, especially in the deserts of Mexico. One reason is because, for the entire walk, everything was uncertain. Uncertainty actually bolsters our faith. It strengthens our faith."

Her story is chronicled in the book The Mission Walker. Sundby says she is proof that, as believers, we ought to live every day without being held hostage by fear or disease.

"Death always comes, and it's always inconvenient," she says. "Illness comes, and it's always inconvenient. We never know the hour or the day, but today is a bonus day. Don't waste it."

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