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March 02, 2010 3:25 am

More miles, less cancer

Written by Tribune Staff

Family traveling globe for cancer awareness
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By the time the Jessin family RV reached Powell Tuesday night, it had about 6,500 miles under its radiator belt.
That leaves roughly 78,500 to go.
The Jessin's are driving their motor home around the world raising money for cancer awareness and treatment.
They stopped in Powell on their way to Yellowstone and all points beyond.
Stefan, Lydie and their four sons — Axel, Jeremy, Liam, and Julian — left their Texas home two months ago. Since then, their travels have taken them from Lousiana to Florida to Quebec.
By the end of August, the Jessin's plan to be in Mexico.
By next June, they hope to be leaving Chile and heading across the Pacific Ocean to Australia.
Of course, that leg of the journey won't be driven — the Jessin's will fly, and the RV will join them later after being shipped.
Ultimately, the Jessin's hope to visit Africa, Europe, Asia — you name it.
Along the way, they'll be visiting hospitals and trying to figure out where they need help in combatting cancer.
“One of the reasons [for the trip] is to bring awareness to these countries where they don't know the symptoms,” Lydie said.
In other countries, Stefan said, parents often don't learn their children have cancer until it's too late.
The International Union Against Cancer estimates that 80 percent of children with cancer live in developing countries, and more than half eventually die.
The Jessin's know youth cancer first-hand. Their son Liam was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was three, and was treated successfully. The family is now traveling to bring that hope to others.
The Jessin's have been global travelers for a long time — originally, they're from France.
The kids are homeschooled in car as they go. Lydie was a teacher before they hit the road.
The Jessin's sold their home, two cars, motorcycle, camper, furniture, and some toys and clothes to pay for their trip.
“We sold everything,” said Stefan.
But even that isn't going to be enough with gas prices the way they are.
“We estimated the cost 2 years ago,” Stefan said. “We know already that we're going to have to shorten the trip to two years instead of three.”
It's not as if the family is traveling in luxury either. The Jessin's don't stay at campgrounds, instead spending the night in Wal-Mart and restaraunt parking lots.
“We don't have the budget to go to the camping areas,” Stefan said.
They've had a tough time finding places to load the RV up with water.
Lydie has had some kidney problems from the lack of it. She said they have been filling the tanks every three days.
“It's tough to go three days with six persons,” Lydie.
Overall, they said the journey has gone well thus far, though Lydie said the trip down the Big Horn Mountains was a little harrowing in the RV.
“We could smell the brakes,” she said.
Lydie and Stefan said Wyoming was beautiful, but were shocked to learn the state is having a relatively wet season.
“Even Texas is greener than this,” Stefan said.
For more on the Jessin's and their trip, visithttp://www.milesofhope.net.