Igniting Possibility in Those Impacted By Cancer. Apply Before October 30, 2014 to Volunteer With Us In India. Scholarships Available.

Igniting Possibility in Those Impacted By Cancer. Apply Before October 30, 2014 to Volunteer With Us In India. Scholarships Available.

We have to be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. ~ Joseph Campbell

photo-2Maybe you have been there? Face muddy from the dirt. Body bruised from the shock of life’s rug being ripped from underneath your feet.

Many of us face a moment when the life we imagined vanishes and we are left grappling with a precarious and uncertain future. When the last sympathy card arrives and the world prods you to get busy living, how do you fumble through the darkness and back into the light?

We believe that one of the most powerful ways to heal is to step out of your story and experience an unforgettable adventure – all while contributing to the world in a positive way.

The Adventure of a Lifetime For Anyone Impacted By Cancer

From February 28 to March 14, 2015, we will return to India for two weeks of volunteering, rediscovery, and a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see the sun rise over the Taj Mahal. If you feel like cancer has taken over too much of your story and you want to join the ranks of our FCAF Alumni who chose to believe in a new dream, check out all of the details here: FCAF International In India. Then, apply before midnight (PST) on October 30, 2014 to join us. Our programs are open to patients and survivors of ALL types of cancer. 

Volunteer Placement with HalOur Program Fee is $5,000 and you have the option of paying in full or fundraising (for part or all of it). But, we want our programs to be available to as many people as possible. So, if you are dreaming about a meaningful adventure in India, but feel like the cost or fundraising commitment would make it impossible, we want to help. Thanks to the Melissa Carroll Legacy Fund, we are thrilled to be able to offer partial or full scholarships.

In exchange for financial support, you will be able to come up with a plan to “pay forward” this experience. We love creating opportunities for you to heal yourself while healing the world. 

We only have 12 spots, so if you are dreaming of joining us, apply right away so you have the highest likelihood of being selected. Although we want to take everyone who applies, we are looking for a diverse mix of ages and types of cancer and preference will be given to our early applicants. If you haven’t been impacted by cancer, but you know someone who has, please share this post via email and social media so we help more patients and survivors feel like new dreams are possible.

If a trip to India isn’t in the cards for now, but you still need support, check out our FCAF Cancer Support Partners page for a variety of resources from across the cancer industry. We’re proud of what our partners do to make an impact every day.

Or, if you want in on an international experience, but you’re not ready yet – make sure you’re signed up for the FCAF Tribe Email. You will be the first to know about our 2015/2016 International Programs in Africa and India. If you would prefer an adventure closer to home, stay tuned for details on upcoming FCAF North America programs.

My Story: The Life I Had Planned

Lonely girl looking out of apartment windowIn 2011, I was angrier than I have ever been. Disgusted by the bright red mastectomy scars on my chest. Devastated that my life had not gone according to plan.

From the age of 9 (when my parents brought my baby brother home from the hospital and I claimed him as my own), I counted down the years before marriage and motherhood. Throughout my 20s, I scanned rooms for my future husband and whenever love arrived, I assumed it should last forever. Instead, as I crossed the threshold into my 30s, I found myself alone in an ultrasound room with the wand – like a cruel joke – pressed up against a tumour on my chest wall. This was not the way my life was supposed to go.

As I recovered from my final surgery, my apartment became crowded with disillusionment, anger, and sadness. After supporting me through cancer treatment, friends struggled with what to say when I chose a Kleenex box, a glass (or bottle) of red wine, and a sad song as my Friday evening entertainment. I can’t say that I blame them.

The Moment Possibility Stepped In

2014-02-19 10.49.34Then one night, I just couldn’t stomach this sad version of myself anymore. Maybe I had cried it all out. Maybe the voices of friends had finally registered. Or, maybe I was tired of feeling like a person people pitied.

Needing to make meaning out of a set of life circumstances I didn’t understand, I found myself thinking about what I could do (instead of what I couldn’t). What did the world have to offer a single, childless woman who wanted to believe in a new dream and to feel inspired again? A vision of volunteering in Africa bubbled up – unexpected and vivid.

If you know our story, you know that first trip to Africa led to the creation of the Fresh Chapter Alliance Foundation. It paved the way for our two FCAF International programs in India and our continued mission to inspire possibility, purpose, and connection in those impacted by cancer. By combining local and international volunteering with wellness programming and meaningful adventures, we are driven by a desire to help survivors gain perspective, find community, and rebuild their lives.

Just as Africa helped to “lift me” out of my fog and provided me with just the perspective of possibility that I needed, now it’s your turn to start a fresh chapter in your life. Click here to find out more about our upcoming trip to India in February 2015.

A Fresh Chapter – Chasing Dreams & Changing Lives from A Fresh Chapter on Vimeo.[/box] 

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India 2015: The Adventure of a Lifetime Awaits

India 2015: The Adventure of a Lifetime Awaits

Your story is so much bigger than cancer. Apply below if you want to start fresh with a once-in-a-lifetime volunteer adventure in India.

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” Christopher Reeves.

IMG_2567Cancer strips us of our dreams. Steals life’s colour and leaves us in a grey fog. A bleak landscape where our to-do list takes on a decidedly dark bent:

  • Show up to oncologist appointment to discuss toxicity of drugs that will bring me to the brink of death as a way to (hopefully) save my life.
  • Channel my best composed face as family and friends burst into tears (or go numb with shock) as they silently assess the risk of me dying.
  • Pretend to be fine when all I really want is to pull the duvet over my eyes for the day, the week, or really until the nightmare ends.

Impervious to our stalled out dreams, the world outside bustles on. It leaves us broken and discarded while friends get married, have babies, send kids off to college, and plan winter getaways to tropical sandy shores. We sit in chemo chairs, climb on top of surgical tables, and file our dreams under the same folder as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. They have all ceased to be real.

So, what happens when the doctor tells us to get back to life? How do we sift through the fragments of our former selves and cross back into a world of colour and possibility?

CAN MORE JOY AND MEANING ACTUALLY HEAL US?

Five years ago on October 27, 2009, the old me ceased to exist. She died. Taken out by the shock of a diagnosis and then buried by the realization that I wasn’t in control of my destiny. Instead, cancer called the shots and I was strapped in for the duration.

IMG_3841For a long time, nothing could penetrate the darkness. I felt angry at the loss of my former life and isolated as friends expected the old me to be resurrected as soon as treatment came to a close. Well meaning people bombarded me with cliches about staying positive and celebrating life. No one seemed to understand that I would only heal when I could fully grieve the death of my old dreams and give myself a chance to believe in new ones.

Thankfully, a volunteer trip to Africa in 2011 changed everything. By stepping out of the landscape of sickness and traveling to a new world, I had space to reframe what I’d been through. By giving of my time to others, I remembered that my life has purpose. By doing something I never would have done before I got sick, I showed myself the possibility of reinvention.

In the midst of my dark nights, I could not have imagined the joy ahead. I did not know that the opportunity to help patients and survivors uncover fresh chapters in their stories would fuel me with a deep rooted sense of purpose. I did not know that the old me would have to die in order for this new version to emerge.

For two years, I have watched our Fresh Chapter Alliance Foundation participants fall in love with India and with the opportunity to dream again. Some of these patients and survivors had never left the continent, never eaten Indian food, and never believed that something as amazing as a trip to the other side of the world could eclipse cancer as the central storyline in their lives.

bJh7U4QVj8Oj3UScvtG2ECSQNDv75brty9k2l9mZ_GABut, they chose to believe in a dream. They fundraised to make it happen. They boarded flights bound for the unknown. They immersed themselves in community projects where they had the chance to volunteer and make an impact on the lives of others. They stood in front of the Taj Mahal and held their heads high because for once cancer had led to awe and beauty instead of darkness and destruction. For those two weeks, nothing but beautiful, bright, technicolor life existed. They returned home emboldened to find other dreams (big or small) to fill them with purpose as they continued to navigate the uncertain waters of living with and beyond cancer.

Our FCAF Tribe has shown me the healing power of joy and meaning. They have helped me appreciate how being lit up by a cause can help diminish the darkness of loss and the fear of recurrence. They are the reason why 12 of YOU will have the chance to join us when our 2015 FCAF International Program kicks off in New Delhi February 28 – March 14, 2015. 

DO YOU WANT IN ON THE ADVENTURE?

Have you been waiting for a chance to start fresh in a big way? We would love you to join us for FCAF India 2015. Check out the details here: FCAF International Programs and then apply and share your story below.

We’d love your help in spreading the word. Please share this post with the people in your lives impacted by cancer and your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. With your help, we will reach the many people impacted by cancer who need to believe a new dream is possible. If you haven’t had cancer, but want an opportunity to be part of this adventure, contact us here. We have a few spots open as part of our brand new Ambassadors Program. We can’t wait to welcome you to our big dreaming family….

 

 

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Save the Date for FCAF India 2015

Save the Date for FCAF India 2015

Slide1If you have been waiting for your chance to experience the adventure of a lifetime, mark your calendars. We will return to New Delhi, India for our third international program from February 28 – March 14, 2015.

Click here to apply before October 30, 2014 for your chance to be one of the 12 participants joining us for the adventure of a lifetime. To find out all of the details and discover if FCAF India is right for you, check our newly updated FCAF International Page.

Please help us spread the word so more patients and survivors will have an opportunity to start fresh.

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Overcoming Survivor Guilt – A Fresh Chapter For Chris

Overcoming Survivor Guilt – A Fresh Chapter For Chris

Chris Chow was already bracing himself for bad news when he learned that he had non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2010. He’d been experiencing a persistent and progressively intense low-back pain, and after seeing his family doctor for x-rays and blood tests early one morning, it was clear there was something wrong.

ChrisChow_5099cc01e6e50“I went to work about 9 o’clock, and got a call right away on my cell phone,” Chris said. “My family doctor said, ‘I need you to go right away to the emergency room. I have hematologists standing by to meet you, so get there as soon as you can.’”

Over the next 19 hours, Chris underwent a battery of tests at the hospital. At the end of the grueling day, doctors still had no news, but after a biopsy the next day Chris was diagnosed with stage II-B cancer. He was just 30 years old, but the way he dealt with his treatment was strongly influenced by someone even younger.

At the time of his diagnosis, Chris had been tutoring a 17-year-old student who had cancer himself, nearly a year to the date before Chris learned he was ill.

 “We worked really well together,” Chris said. “When I quit the learning center, he sought me out for private tutoring. I’d been seeing him for about six years, twice a week. He was one of the very first students that I met.”

He was also the first person Chris knew who was going through cancer, and their friendship provided Chris the kind of connection and grounding he needed.

“I never saw another young person at the hospital,” said Chris, of Ottawa. “When I would go to my chemo, I’d be in a bay with 12 other people, but I really didn’t want to talk to the old people. So I would sleep, and my mom would talk to them about knitting and stuff like that.”

Chris knew he could expect an energy loss during chemotherapy because of how treatment had affected his student.

“It was really crazy, because he still wanted to be going to school and getting tutored,” Chris said. “I said, ‘You know, you’re going through cancer, you can stop tutoring, and it’s okay.’ But he was determined – he was like, ‘No, I want to graduate on time with all my friends.’”

So when Chris began treatment, he was heartbroken that his own severe energy loss wouldn’t allow him to continue tutoring. But he and his student kept contact through Facebook, checking in on each other through chemo treatments.

Chris with kids at volunteer placement“I gave us a goal, because we were going through it together,” Chris said. “The goal was we’re both going to get through this cancer, and then we’re going to get him graduated out of high school. So we had something to aim for, which was nice … even when I was going through really miserable times, I kept the goal in mind.”

Tragically, Chris’s student passed away – less than a week after Chris learned he was in remission.

“I was absolutely gutted,” Chris said. “It was the worst feeling in the world, and I had so much survivor’s guilt. I think everybody has a bit survivor’s guilt when someone they know has passed – but for me – we never accomplished any of our goals. I’d known him for so long, and we talked about things so long, like what he was going to do in the future.”

Chris stumbled across A Fresh Chapter and saw a potential window of peace in the opportunity. He went with a group of volunteers to New Delhi in February 2013, and he drew on his experiences as a tutor, teaching English at the Vidya Okhla School in Delhi to students ages 6 to 12.

“One of the main things that I wanted to get out of this was letting go of the survivors guilt, because that really was – and still kind of is – a big issue for me,” Chris said. “I wanted to go because India is such a spiritual place, and there’s so many temples, and so many religions, all within in this one country. I knew it was going to be one of those places where I could maybe let go and leave some baggage there.”

The very last day of the trip, Chris was able to leave at least some of the heaviest of it behind.

“We were walking to the restaurant that we were going to have our dinner at and we stopped at this temple,” Chris said. “We had stopped at other temples before, but for some reason, that temple, that was just the moment. When I lit the incense and said the prayer in my head and put the incense into the urn, it was just my release. I was done. Like I knew, at that point, I have to let go of these things. And I just let them go. That was when the floodgates opened.”

 – Nikki Kallio

Nikki Kallio is a writer and cancer survivor. She has worked for newspapers in Wisconsin, Maine and California in a number of roles, including as a health reporter and opinion writer, during which time she traveled to the Mideast and Central Asia as a part of the National Conference of Editorial Writers (NCEW). She’s a graduate of the Goddard College MFA creative writing program, and her fiction has appeared in several literary publications. She currently writes for a business magazine in Wisconsin, teaches fiction writing classes, and is completing edits on her first novel.

For Patients & Survivors

If you are a cancer patient or survivor who is looking for a meaningful way to start fresh, please sign up for our tribe here. You will be the first to know about our upcoming programs. Stay tuned as we prepare to announce our 2015 International Programs in India and Africa. Applications will open soon (and only be open for a short time), so we don’t want you to miss the opportunity of a lifetime. 

For Champions & Ambassadors

If you are looking for more meaning and purpose in your life – even if you haven’t had cancer – we are looking for you. Our tribe of champions and ambassadors is growing and we would love you to join us in impacting the foundation and the world. Contact us here and tell us a bit about yourself and why and how you want to get involved. 

For Donors & Sponsors

Audacious and hopeful, Fresh Chapter Alliance Foundation (FCAF) aims to transform grief and pain into purpose and healing. Through proven US and International programs, survivors gain perspective, find community, and rebuild their lives. Please visit the Fresh Chapter Alliance Foundation page to learn more about our work and make a donation.

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What No One Tells You About Heartbreak

What No One Tells You About Heartbreak

HeartbreakYou know that feeling. The sucker punch of loss. Your knees buckle and you clutch your gut as tears – hot and voracious – drip from your chin to collar bone. When you’ve finally cried yourself empty, you slide between cool sheets and wait for the elixir of sleep to rescue you. For a brief interlude, the pain disappears. Then, you wake and the weight of your new reality presses on your every cell. The person you love is gone.

It’s been a couple of years since I felt the punch of a broken relationship, but on September 16, 2014, I found myself sobbing in the dark. It should have been Melissa’s 32nd birthday. She should still be on this planet, paint brush in hand and laughter dancing in her eyes. Instead she’s gone. Stolen from us by an aggressive cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma.

When I first imagined creating the foundation and envisioned a pilot program in India, I pictured the joy of 12 cancer survivors volunteering with local projects and standing in awe as the sun rose behind the Taj Mahal. I didn’t think about how attached I might get or how it would feel to lose someone who became a friend.

As I lay crying in the dark last week, I thought about how it’s almost time to bring our next group of survivors to India (details and dates coming very soon) and had to ask myself – am I ready for the risk that I might relive this pain?

The answer is yes. Absolutely. Unequivocally. Yes. The risk of sadness is worth it if it means sharing possibility, adventure, and meaning with people who need a way to start fresh.

IMG_2631If I have learned anything on my travels, it is this: struggle and joy are meant to intermingle. Here in North America, we maniacally chase happiness. We avoid thoughts of death and focus on our quest to uncover the “perfect” life.

And, yet…there is no growth without struggle and sadness.

Heartbreak means we’ve allowed ourselves to truly care about another human being. It means we’re alive. My heart was splintered and raw when I said goodbye to a beautiful little boy after my volunteer program in South Africa 3 years ago. I didn’t know how I could leave this little human. In spite of our lack of a shared language and the limited time we spent in a dusty and barren daycare trailer, he healed me from the depression and isolation of cancer in ways I will never be able to put into words. He taught me what unconditional love felt like and reminded me how grateful I was to be alive. The pain of saying goodbye has challenged me to grow in ways that the joy alone never could.

So, if you’re curled up on the floor grieving an unimaginable loss, stay there for awhile longer. Don’t try to sweep the darkness under the rug. Let the sadness have its way with you. Know that you are not alone and that this pain is part of the journey. Perhaps it’s unlocking the door to possibilities you can’t even imagine yet?

“How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.

So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloudshadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you.”  ~Rainer Rilke

How has sadness or struggle helped you grow? As always I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

For Patients & Survivors

If you are a cancer patient or survivor who is looking for a meaningful way to start fresh, please sign up for our tribe here. You will be the first to know about our upcoming programs. Stay tuned as we prepare to announce our 2015 International Programs in India and Africa. Applications will open soon (and only be open for a short time), so we don’t want you to miss the opportunity of a lifetime. 

For Champions & Ambassadors

If you are looking for more meaning and purpose in your life – even if you haven’t had cancer – we are looking for you. Our tribe of champions and ambassadors is growing and we would love you to join us in impacting the foundation and the world. Contact us here and tell us a bit about yourself and why and how you want to get involved. 

For Donors & Sponsors

Audacious and hopeful, Fresh Chapter Alliance Foundation (FCAF) aims to transform grief and pain into purpose and healing. Through proven US and International programs, survivors gain perspective, find community, and rebuild their lives. Please visit the Fresh Chapter Alliance Foundation page to learn more about our work and make a donation.

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Deirdre’s Fresh Chapter – A Dream Of India

Deirdre’s Fresh Chapter – A Dream Of India

Deirdre Wilcox dreamt of India.

She had no idea she’d end up there, but dreamt of it just the same, her subconscious painting a vivid picture of the cool, crisp air of the Himalayas, of Buddhist monks and softly falling snow.

unnamed-7Two weeks later, an email arrived: India. For cancer survivors. Deadline for application midnight of the same day.

Deirdre had never heard of A Fresh Chapter. Diagnosed two years prior with breast cancer, she had endured a double mastectomy and lymph node removal, six months of chemotherapy, 6 weeks of radiation and nine months of hormone therapy. Her experience as a therapeutic bodyworker and yogi helped her heal mind and body as she moved through pain, despair, scar tissue.  After treatment, Deirdre lost the sense of self that had fled when words like “cancer patient” –  and now, “survivor” – began to apply to her.

“During the worst of the treatment, you are in survival mode. There’s not a lot of room for other things to enter your mind,” said Deirdre, a Seattle resident. “When it starts to taper off, I felt this secondary tsunami wave that knocked me over. You realize you are going to survive – at least for a time, anyway – and your life as you know it is gone.”

Experiencing India

The Delhi Dozen had never met one another before arriving in India in February 2013. They represented a diverse group of cancer survivors. The one thing they had in common would create an strong bond – even as they refused to let it define them.

unnamed-9“We shared our experiences yet cancer wasn’t the central thing – we didn’t sit around and talk about cancer all day,” Deirdre said. “There was comfort in being around people who ‘got it’ without explanation, and there was much joy, laughter and camaraderie.”

Deirdre and her fellow travelers spent their mornings engaged in volunteer work, while afternoons were set aside for travel, exploration and cultural activities. They met with Indian cancer survivors and shared the commonality of experience across cultures while appreciating the differences in treatment options.

“Cancer is hard, no matter how you look at it,” Deirdre said. “But it’s much harder without good treatment options and support. … I was sick under the best of circumstances.”

A clear direction.

unnamed-10“I think having my own deep faith that no matter how the journey turned out, one way or the other somehow it was going to be OK.  I felt resonance with the deep spirituality in India, I loved the temples, the universality of the human experience.” Deirdre says she has emerged more bold and more clear than before cancer, and before India.

“It really helped me to find the clarity I sought in the aftermath of illness. I felt inspired, more courageous and confident, and less lonely in my post-cancer  journey,” Deirdre said. “I think that’s probably one of the things that ended up being most important for me–it really erased the sharp edges of loneliness with the experience.”

And paved the way for Deirdre’s next big dream– to return to India with another group of survivors as a co-facilitator.  She continues to develop that path and dream with A Fresh Chapter Alliance Foundation and Terri Wingham.

~ Written by Kelly McBride Moore

For Patients & Survivors

If you are a cancer patient or survivor who is looking for a meaningful way to start fresh, please sign up for our tribe here. You will be the first to know about our upcoming programs. Stay tuned as we prepare to announce our 2015 International Programs in India and Africa. Applications will open soon (and only be open for a short time), so we don’t want you to miss the opportunity of a lifetime. 

For Champions & Ambassadors

If you are looking for more meaning and purpose in your life – even if you haven’t had cancer – we are looking for you. Our tribe of champions and ambassadors is growing and we would love you to join us in impacting the foundation and the world. Contact us here and tell us a bit about yourself and why and how you want to get involved. 

For Donors & Sponsors

Audacious and hopeful, Fresh Chapter Alliance Foundation (FCAF) aims to transform grief and pain into purpose and healing. Through proven US and International programs, survivors gain perspective, find community, and rebuild their lives. Please visit the Fresh Chapter Alliance Foundation page to learn more about our work and make a donation.

Kelly McBride Moore serves as the Coordinator for Media Relations and Video/Audio News at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. A 2004 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Moore spent the first seven years of her professional career in daily journalism, working as a reporter for the Stevens Point (Wis.) Journal and the Green Bay (Wis.) Press-Gazette, and as the Opinion Page Editor for the Press-Gazette before joining the staff at UW-Green Bay in 2011. She wanted to write this story after witnessing the devastating impact of cancer on her family and her father, Steve McBride, who died from the disease in October 2013. She believes in healing, and in hope. Moore lives in De Pere, Wis., with her husband Dan and two cats.

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What 1000 Days of Homelessness Has Taught Me

What 1000 Days of Homelessness Has Taught Me

Home Sweet Home“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” -  Christopher Reeve

I have never sat on a sidewalk, clutching a cardboard sign and hoping a stranger would toss a few coins or a half eaten sandwich my way. And yet, my life isn’t so far removed from this reality.

Over 1,000 nights ago, I packed the last box, gave away the last piece of furniture, and handed over the keys to my apartment. I had a big hairy audacious dream and couldn’t afford to pay rent while trying to make it happen. So, my six months (which turned into three years) of couch surfing began.

When I tell my story to strangers – often on airplanes or in coffee shops – they inevitably shake their heads and say, “I could never do that.” Usually on the word never, I see the flash of fear in their eyes as they imagine giving up nights spent lounging in front of their favourite reality TV show or mornings spent reading the New York Times in bed.

I never thought I could do it either. If you had told me on September 29, 2011 that I still wouldn’t have a home 1076 days later, I would have asked for my keys back. My job back. My old life back.

25937_10150093340075184_801200183_11132562_3529679_nUnlike some nomads, living out of a suitcase does not come naturally to me. I was the kid who developed a stomach ache on the night of a friend’s sleepover party, so I wouldn’t have to go. I hated the weird noises, the dark corridors where monsters might lurk, the waking up in an unfamiliar basement or bedroom. Then, as an adult, I became even more high-maintenance. I wouldn’t go on a girls weekend without my pillow (and duvet) and a full pre-departure run down of exactly how the events of the weekend would unfold (including menu plans and floor maps outlining sleeping arrangements). Yes, I was that girl.

Yet, here I am. Still alive after three years of sleeping in countless beds in cities all of the world. Exhausted and more determined than ever.

God-willing, a set of keys to my own apartment is on the horizon. Both the Fresh Chapter Alliance Foundation (and I) need a stable landing pad from which to launch the nine (yes, I said nine) programs we have planned for 2015. From 2-day programs in multiple US cities to 2-week programs in India and Tanzania, to a brand new week-long hybrid program we’re planning to pilot in California, this dream keeps growing.

2014-07-19 19.55.47Audacious and hopeful, we are on a mission to transform grief and pain into purpose and healing through meaningful service. We are driven by the belief that in creating possibility, purpose, and connection for those impacted by cancer, we are building stronger survivors and communities. It is this belief that has never left me over the last 1000+ days. It is also the tribe of volunteers, board members, donors, alumni, and hopeful participants that has inspired me. It is the family and friends who have fed and housed me. Without any of these pieces, I would have given up long ago.

The biggest lesson over the last three years? Every dream involves sacrifices and takes longer than you think it will to come to fruition. Those people who tell you that all you have to do is set your intention and everything you ever wanted will parachute directly into your life? They’re lying. It takes intention, dedication, and a whole tribe of support to bring big dreams to life. 

So, the next time you wake up dreaming about what your heart is aching to do/be/see, stop telling yourself it’s not possible. Trust that you are stronger than you know. Whether it’s single motherhood, choosing to make the most of an unknown future while living with cancer, or moving to a brand new city because you want to start fresh, you are capable of enduring more than you could  have imagined.

And, when it gets hard because you haven’t had a proper sleep in weeks, or you feel lonely because you don’t know a soul, or you’re scared because you don’t know how much time you have left on this planet, trust that the difficult moments are polishing you and preparing you for the road ahead. Then, say a little prayer of gratitude that you are living and breathing and that in this moment, you have the opportunity to dream.

For Patients & Survivors

If you are a cancer patient or survivor who is looking for a meaningful way to start fresh, please sign up for our tribe here. You will be the first to know about our upcoming programs. Stay tuned because we’re getting ready to announce our 2015 International Programs in India and Africa. Applications will open soon (and only be open for a short time), so we don’t want you to miss the opportunity of a lifetime. 

For Champions & Ambassadors

If you are looking for more meaning and purpose in your life – even if you haven’t had cancer – we are looking for you. Our tribe of champions and ambassadors is growing and we would love you to join us in impacting the foundation and the world. Send us a note below and tell us a bit about yourself and why and how you want to get involved. 

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