No one in my family had ever graduated from college. I was a high school dropout and a teenage mom. And, devastating family circumstances nearly pulled me further off course. My journey was not an easy one. But, I’m here to tell you that I not only realized my dream, I exceeded it! Today, I am Dr. Karen Wisdom-Chambers, an assistant professor of nursing in Palm Beach County, teaching the next generation who dream of becoming nurses.
As a teen mom, I worked hard to earn an associates and later a bachelor’s degree. But my heart told me I needed to do more. I wanted to inspire others by becoming an educator, so I applied to a local doctoral program.
At 12:00 p.m. on August 1, 2011 I learned that I had been accepted. I immediately called my son. He was as excited as I was and asked if he would now have to start calling me, “Dr. Mom.” At 10:00 p.m. that night, a police officer knocked on my door. My son had been murdered.
Reeling from his loss, I felt that I could not go on with my studies. However, I knew in my heart my son would want me to carry on and fulfill my dream. Eleven days after I buried my son, I started my doctoral program. But, life’s tragedies weren’t done with me yet.
Two years later, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. His chances for survival were slim. As I took him to chemo and radiation appointments, I also had the added stress of mounting medical bills and a daughter in college.
I didn’t know how I would pay for my own schooling and didn’t know where to turn for help. I faced losing my life-long dream of becoming a nurse educator. But, Palm Health Foundation was there for me.
I applied for and received a scholarship. The foundation provided me with the financial support I needed at a critical time in my life. If it hadn’t been for that scholarship, I would have dropped out of the program, and my dream of being a nurse educator would be unfulfilled. One month after my husband passed away, I graduated with a doctorate in nursing.
There are so many stories like mine—people who try so hard to do everything on their own to succeed. But, there comes a time when they find themselves needing a helping hand. Palm Health Foundation is that helping hand.
Your gift to Palm Health Foundation will have a ripple effect—impacting the life of a student, our vulnerable residents, and the health of our community. I know it has impacted me and every single life I touch.
Dr. Karen Wisdom — Chambers
P.S. Palm Health Foundation supports programs to promote education and better health in so many innovative ways, from scholarships to community nursing initiatives. To donate, create your own charitable giving fund, or to learn more, click here.