Success Story: Meet Carrie

In 2013, after watching her youngest sister pass away from cancer, Carrie devoted herself to the study of natural medicines. She had one goal: “To really bring healing and comfort to people in a way that conventional medicine often cannot.” Carrie threw herself wholly into her pursuit, sacrificing everything else and working tirelessly for six years to earn her medical degree. It was a long, hard journey, but one Carrie believed in deeply.

Carrie sacrificed a great deal in order to study at the Southwest School of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ, one of the only accredited naturopathic universities in the country. She moved from New Jersey to Phoenix, where she knew no one. Her financial situation was difficult, and she lived in a homeless shelter while taking classes at a Maricopa Community College. Soon, she met a woman who invited her to stay with her rent free for six months. At that point, Carrie received financial aid that allowed her to rent her own small apartment. “I didn’t use money for anything I didn’t absolutely need. I didn’t put the heat on in the winter or the AC on in the summer. I just paid rent and the smallest grocery bill I could manage.”

During this time, Carrie was accepted into Live and Learn. Her drive, passion, and work-ethic made her an exemplary client. Live and Learn provided needs-based Supplemental Support to Carrie, including bus passes and help with her phone bill. Carrie remembers:

“You’d think that’s insignificant, but these things can leak out all of your resources so it’s actually a huge, huge help. Even more importantly, knowing that Live & Learn could help me with these kinds of things relieved so much stress, and I was better able to focus on my studies.”

Your success is not your own success. I studied long into the nights; I worked hard. But I did not pull myself up by my bootstraps. I would never have succeeded if there weren’t people helping me every step.

Soon Carrie began classes at the Southwest School of Naturopathic Medicine. She worked hard and excelled in her first year. Then, Carrie learned that she had ovarian cancer, requiring surgery and chemotherapy, and forcing her to take a leave of absence from school.

During this difficult time, Live and Learn offered Carrie emotional and financial support. Without such support, even women as driven as Carrie can become derailed from their education. After completing her treatment, Carrie’s cancer went into remission, and she jumped right back into her studies.

In the final two years of her education, Carrie had to complete clinical rotation in order to gain practical, hands-on experience. This required her to be in locations all over the Phoenix-metro area every day. Live and Learn was able to financially assist Carrie in purchasing a used, but reliable car of her own. She explains, “I can’t imagine how I would have been able to continue without that. There’s just no way to reliably get where I needed to go without a car of my own.”

In fall 2018, as Carrie was completing her final semester of school, her financial aid ran out, having been stretched too thin when she took time off to fight her own cancer battle. After years of hard work, a financial issue was threatening to prevent her from graduating. “I called Live and Learn and spoke with Katie, who has been one of the most supportive people in my life,” Carrie recalls. Live and Learn was able to provide tuition assistance and cover the cost of Carrie’s board exams.

Carrie graduated with her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine in December 2018. It took years of hard work and sacrifices, but she was unwavering in her determination to learn to heal and comfort people. Carrie believed that she could become a doctor, and Live and Learn believed in—and invested in—Carrie.

“You can never go wrong when you invest in people,” said a member of the Live and Learn Board of Directors. Live and Learn invests in women like Carrie, knowing that when they succeed, they give back to the community and we all succeed. In Carrie’s case, she will give back by offering healing and comfort to those in need.

Future Plans

Carrie is currently interviewing with established doctors in order to gain experience and learn from them. Longer term, she envisions opening a naturopathic hospital “where I can help people, especially people who cannot afford real healing”.