• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

'A Fresh Chapter' helps cancer survivors heal

July 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
So much focus is put on cancer patients during treatment that being cut loose at the end can be somewhat jarring. Survivors are left with the fear of picking up the pieces of a job or a relationship.

Now, those looking for emotional healing and inspiration have help in writing a fresh chapter.

Cecily Jackson-Zapata, 40, was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. While she felt focus and support through treatment, she wasn't prepared for what was next.

"It's very common for people when they finish their active treatment to feel a sense of isolation," said Jackson-Zapata.

Through social media, Jackson-Zapata found breast cancer survivor Terri Wingham and "a fresh chapter" to add to her life.

"Everybody wants to celebrate when it's over, and you do too, but there's this feeling for a lot of people that you can't go back to who you were before you heard the news," said Wingham.

At age 30, Wingham underwent a double mastectomy. Going back to work as a corporate headhunter didn't seem relevant to her anymore. For six weeks, she decided to volunteer at a day care in South Africa.

"That experience healed me from cancer in a way I wouldn't have expected," said Wingham.

What started as a blog about Wingham's international adventures to find healing and inspiration turned into A Fresh Chapter Foundation.

"It's about what is your new story going to look like? Who are you now that you've been through cancer?" said Wingham. "So we're helping people find connection that way."

In February, Wingham documented a group journey to India. During the trip, Jackson-Zapata volunteered with children and met with other cancer survivors.

"I really feel as you're helping other people, you're really helping to heal different parts of yourself," said Jackson-Zapata.

The trip gave Jackson-Zapata new friendships and meaningful moments.

So what's next? Wingham says she wants to help other cancer survivors "to have an adventure that pushes the boundaries of their comfort zone, and to help them feel like new things are possible after cancer."

A Fresh Chapter has 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. The group needs volunteers and donors. Wingham is also working to create volunteer opportunities here at home. For more information, visit afreshchapter.com.

Load Comments