WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- July 24 is Amelia Earhart's birthday. However, thanks to Earhart, this date is extra special for one Winston-Salem woman.
In 1997, Linda Finch, owner of Earheart Healthy Weight Loss in Winston-Salem, was the first person to recreate Earhart's attempted flight around the world. A year prior, on Earhart's birthday, she flew the plane she used to recreate the flight for the first time.
"It was like we have these little demons running around for almost six months, it just would not ever get there," said Finch.
The plane was almost exactly like the one Earhart used on her attempted flight. The only changes were modern radio equipment and other technologies which allowed her to communicate with millions of students learning about her journey in schools worldwide.
"The airplane was old, it was loud, it was noisy, it was hot," said Finch. "There were times it was so exciting and so happy and the support we got all over the world. And other times it was eerie and even then, sad."
Perhaps no time was more emotional for her during the flight, than when she passed over Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean. That was the area where Earhart's flight is believed to have come to an end, with only two stops left; Honolulu and Oakland.
"Over Howland Island is when I really realized the tragedy of her almost finishing," said Finch.
Finch completed her journey in Oakland, after a two and a half month journey around the world.
Others have tried to recreate the flight. Most recently were a father and son from Indiana, who crashed. The son's body was recovered, but the father's still missing.
"There have been a lot of accidents and a lot of difficulty with flights and people lost and much tragedy," said Finch.
She says even in 1997, navigating her way around the world was not a safe task.
"Flying through the Middle East was difficult. in Saudi Arabia I was not allowed, because women are not allowed to travel alone. I had to have a man talk on the radio," said Finch. "Is flying in foreign countries and across the ocean risky? Certainly. Being careful planning is important, but that risk is always there."
However, Finch says in order to make a difference, one needs to take risks.
"One person can make changes in the world and affect tens of thousands and millions of people," said Finch.
Finch says she still carries the message that Earhart sent across the world with her.
"We need to be honest, hardworking and never, never quit. Never, never give up," said Finch.
It's a message she used to motivate herself to lose weight after the completion of the flight, when she went through some hard times. Now, she says, she uses it to motivate others. Finch has started Earheart Healthy Weight Loss, which she says is a new, one-of-a-kind, patient pending technology that provides fast, easy weight loss today and the ability to control weight in the future.