Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. Mark Twain
I’m doing something I’ve never done before with today’s Survivor’s Nest post – I’m talking about a person. This is a courageous woman with cancer who doesn’t even have a nest of her own – she is homeless right now and has been for the past several months.
Last fall, we agreed to meet at a little coffee shop in Hoboken, NJ. It was a bit of a ride for me and I am not a fan of city driving, but I really wanted to meet her. When I got there, she was already sitting, with her cup of tea, looking very relaxed. Just a short time before, she had given up her apartment in Vancouver, sold her belongings and traveled to various places within the US, to wind up here with me in Hoboken. After my jittery ride, I was very impressed with her easy adventurousness.
As we spoke, she revealed that her drive into Hoboken had been scary. There was tons of traffic, sudden lane changes and complicated directions which were less than accurate. She was stressed out about driving around in strange cities, in someone else’s car, trying to get from A to B. I watched her walk away from me after we said good-bye, alone and unsure of where she had parked her car. All I could think was how much more impressed I was with her courage now that I knew it didn’t come easily.
I’m talking about Terri Wingham and today is her birthday. She is 33 and presently in Giseny, Rwanda, where she is volunteering at an orphanage. Why is she there? Remember my post two days ago, Courageous Women with Cancer Part 2? In it, I talked about women I’ve met who have taken their cancer experience and created a new normal of power and meaning. Well, Terri is the epitome of that ideal.
Prior to her double mastectomy, Terri was a young executive powerhouse. After cancer, she quit her job to find a more meaningful calling. She signed up for a volunteer program in Africa, which led to her present adventure: a trip around the world to volunteer on almost every continent. Her dream is to create a foundation so other cancer survivors can volunteer overseas and benefit as much as she has from her “Adventure of Hope.”
To date, she has volunteered with cancer patients in Viet Nam and India. After her tour in Rwanda, she will move on to Peru, Madrid and Costa Rica. Although Terri doesn’t have a nest to call her own right now, she still needs to fund her travel. I’ll be donating again today as a birthday present to a woman I greatly admire. If you can, please consider supporting this courageous woman with cancer.
I could never change my life the way that Terri has. But, the specifics of her life aren’t the issue. What matters is that we are all living a new life post-cancer and each day, whatever it throws at us, we face it courageously. We each have a story to tell and each story is inspiring. To hear more of Terri’s story, I’ll leave her to tell it in her own words.
Survival > Existence,