Woman rollerblading thousands of miles: 'I believe in the goodness of people'

Woman rollerblading thousands of miles: 'I believe in the goodness of people'
Yanise Ho's journey rolled through the Richmond area this week. (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A young woman from Hong Kong who is skating all the way from Miami to New York (and then to Los Angeles) rolled through the Richmond area this week.

The self-proclaimed "Bladress" Yanise Ho is doing this journey with no food, water, means of defending herself and no housing.

Ho says she's showing humanity in its brightest light as she blades 6,000 miles across the country to raise money for the nonprofit One Girl Can.

"I believe in the spirit of people, the goodness of people," she said.

Ho is a female Forrest Gump on wheels, never knowing what she'll get. She finds what she needs as she goes - or maybe her daily bread (water and shelter) find her?

She's approaching day 80 of her journey from Miami to New York. The only items in her 40-pound, frayed back pack are pajamas, toiletries and her electronic devises.

"I'm amazed by the kindness in people," she said while adjusting the reflective straps on the make shift backpack.

"A construction worker gave me one of these. The other came from a police officer," she explained, showing off her items.

She documents her tortoise pace trip online using another modified item - a duct-taped camera rig.

"It's tailor made for me by my friends; there's a Go Pro so I can film everything," Ho said. She says it, like the backpack, has been altered by many of the people she's stayed with.

The self proclaimed bladress manages to find a place to stay every night.

"It always works out," Ho said.

Despite to scrapes and bruises, the Bladress - both a nickname and a brand - pushes another powerful message.

"This is a scholarship that funds girls education in Kenya and Uganda where child marriage is very prevalent," she said of why she's doing this.

She's hoping to raise $60,000 to pay for 200 students' education for a year.

"I think that's the key to ending child marriage," she said.

It was pouring down rain as she made her way to Central Virginia.

"She was drenched,"  Vanessa Sawyer, from Caroline County, said. "She still had that smile that she has now."

The 23-year-old had no plans to stop skating.

"I was actually enjoying (the weather)," she said. "I saw the lightning. That's what stopped me. It was on Sunshine Road, which is pretty ironic.

Then she saw the Sawyer family having a cook out.

Ho says she was just talking about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Fin the night before at another host family's home.

"Immediately they were like 'Why are you skating in the rain? We have chicken you want some?'" Ho remembered.

"We felt very comfortable with her," Sawyer explained as she helped the Bladress pack up to start another day’s worth of skating. "It’s weird."

The Sawyers got her a hotel room for the night and d ropped her off on Route 301 the next day.

"I just met her," Sawyer said. "But I worry as if I were her parent."

"She is, to me, God sent for that purpose,'" said Sawyer, knowing Ho says her motive isn't religious.

"Faith is up to everyone's interpretation. It's the 100 percent belief in something," she explained.

"If you believe good will happen," Ho continued, "it will."

"I show the world there are a lot of good people in the world even though I'm just one girl by myself," she said. "I'm not afraid because everyone is my brothers and sisters and I just feel protected by random strangers."

The most difficult part, she says, is saying goodbye to everyone she meets just for one day.

"I'm in tears every day. The biggest challenge is to say goodbye to the people I've met everyday. That's the biggest challenge," she said as she prepared to say goodbye to Sawyer.

Ho hopes to complete the entire 6,000 mile journey in about seven months. She stays in an area until she feels led to leave.

"I just let it flow," she said.

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