Wendy Chambers is a 2-time cancer survivor. She spent her career in marketing, most recently as Pepperidge Farms’ director of consumer and customer insights. She’s a voracious traveler, with visits to 48 states and 42 countries.
All of which combine to make the Westport resident’s current project her most exciting yet. She owns a travel company that plans and coordinates trips and experiences for cancer survivors, both during and after treatment.
Having conquered breast cancer — and helped her own husband overcome prostate cancer — Wendy knows that life after the disease is different than before.
“You’ve got a different mindset,” she explains.
“You learn not to postpone joy. You don’t sweat the small stuff. You live in the present, and do things now. You spend time with loved ones, and people you really care about. You focus on wellness, and connecting your body and soul.”
Similarly, cancer patients currently undergoing chemo and radiation need breaks. “Treatment sabbaticals” allow them to recharge.
After Wendy’s chemo ended 4 years ago, she took her family to Japan. She called it her Victory Tour.
Which is why her new company is named Victory Travel.
This past summer, as she started planning her next job after Pepperidge Farm, she organized a 23-day road trip. The goal was to help move her daughter from Boston to San Francisco. But along the way, they stopped at a wonderful array of attractions, both tourist and off-the-beaten-path.
Wendy had spent 32 years in corporate America. She had no idea how to start a company. But as she and her husband drove to the West Coast and back — and thought about all the other journeys she’d planned, like a 10-day excursion last year to India — she realized her passion for travel.
And the impact it could make on cancer survivors everywhere.
She bought a book on small businesses. She worked with the “magnificent, kind” — and free — mentors at SCORE,
And she joined the Gifted Travel Network, a community of independent travel consultants that offers entree to preferred suppliers and other resources.
With Victory Travel, Wendy is following her dream. The same philosophy drives her company.
“No one should ever say ‘If only…’ or ‘I wish…,” she says. “I want my clients to have that trip they always dreamed about.” And have it now, when they fully appreciate it.
Wendy puts together travel experiences for cancer survivors and their families. She’ll also connect groups of survivors. Some people, she notes, want to be with others who understand what they’ve gone through.
Not everyone wants to be called a cancer survivor, of course. Some hope to put the experience far behind them.
But those who embrace the label do so as “victors” over the disease.
Which makes Wendy Chambers’ Victory Travel the perfect remedy for them.