Starting My Fresh Chapter
In 2009, at age 30, Terri Wingham found out that she had cancer. Two years later, after 15 months of treatment, she enrolled to volunteer in South Africa with Cross-Cultural Solutions. Now an alumna three times over, Terri's story has gone from one fraught with obstacles, to an incredible inspiration that has touched the lives of countless individuals around the world. She now organizes groups of fellow cancer survivors to volunteer abroad with CCS through her Fresh Chapter Alliance Foundation. The foundation offers survivors a chance to rediscover their passion and start their own "fresh chapter." Here's an excerpt from a recent article highlighting Terri's experience as a cancer survivor and an international volunteer:
In the nights of insomnia leading up to surgery, my laptop screen would light up the bedroom as I surfed through sites listing everything from internships in Ethiopia to teaching English in Morocco. With so many options, I felt buried by choices until a friend recommended Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS). After ten minutes on the CCS site, their model of blending volunteering, cultural exchange, and free time immediately impressed me.
From the moment I signed up and began to fundraise, I felt empowered and strengthened. Within 3 ½ weeks, my community of friends, families, and co-workers had donated enough money to cover a 6-week program and I soon boarded a flight to Cape Town where I spent the next month and a half immersed both in the South African culture and in the love of a group of 1-3 year olds in an underfunded daycare. Six weeks and some teary goodbyes later, I boarded a G Adventures bus and spent 3 weeks fulfilling a lifelong dream of traveling through Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia. On my final day in Africa, I stood beneath Victoria Falls and the spray mixed with the tears coursing down my face.
I was alive. I had made it from the couch to the other side of the world and I vowed, from that day forward, to say yes to every opportunity I could to live the hell out of my life.
Read the full article to learn more about Terri's inspirational adventure and the Fresh Chapter Alliance Foundation.