In the face of adversity, Avis Munroe emerges not only as a breast cancer survivor but as a beacon of hope for others battling the disease. Her journey from a cancer diagnosis to founding the non-profit organization Hope 4 Tomorrow exemplifies strength, resilience, and a commitment to empowering others battling cancer. As a thirteen-year breast cancer survivor, a mother of two boys, an accountant, an avid farmer, and a nonprofit founder, she has not only beaten the odds and cancer but reclaimed her zest for living abundantly and giving back generously to her community.
A Triumph Over Adversity
Thirteen years ago, Avis Munroe faced an aggressive form of breast cancer, a diagnosis that echoed the tragic loss of her mother to the same disease when Avis was just six years old. At the time of her diagnosis, her son was also six years old, and Avis was determined to break the cycle and fight with every ounce of her strength for more time and life. Wrought with personal hardships and pain, she points to her unwavering faith in God and her unrelenting determination to see her young sons grow into men and to be a part of their lives as the catalyst that gave her the strength and resilience to endure seventeen rounds of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, and six major surgeries within a span of a year and four months. Staying positive, grounded in her faith and focused on her goal of taking every possible measure to recover her health was key to her hope and survival.
It was in 2018, after her battle with breast cancer that Avis was inspired to transform her pain into a pathway of hope and healing for other cancer fighters. She founded Hope 4 Tomorrow, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free non-medical cancer wellness retreats on the serene island of Eleuthera.
Through Hope 4 Tomorrow, she turned her journey of healing and disciplined self-care into a blueprint for others fighting the disease. Her retreats have inspired hope and provided essential resources to over sixty cancer patients, assisting them in building a daily regimen to promote healing and balanced living.
Hope 4 Tomorrow: A Blueprint for Healing
Hope 4 Tomorrow offers free retreats catering to groups of ten to twelve cancer patients at a time. The retreats, held one to two times per year, provide a stress-free, four-day, three-night experience focused on self-care, cancer education, nutrition, exercise, meal prepping, camaraderie, and fun. Participants are responsible for their transport to Eleuthera, but once there, they are provided with an all-inclusive stay and immersed in a healing environment supported by caring volunteers and local and international wellness experts.
Surrounded by Eleuthera’s breathtaking natural wonders, guests also enjoy invigorating land and sea adventures and cultural experiences at a laid-back island pace with plenty of time for rest and rejuvenation. Escaping the hustle and bustle of city life and creating intentional quiet moments in nature for meditative reflection is another healing gift that guests soak in.
Avis emphasizes the importance of intentional self-care, stating, “You have to be deliberate with what you eat. You have to be intentional about managing your stress level and getting
sufficient rest and exercise. Hydrating and eating nutritious healing foods every day is crucial. The goal is to harness the variables you can control and find the right balance to fight and thrive. That’s the challenge I continue to manage every day to maintain my own health, and it’s the gift that I want to share with others. I aim to help people move beyond illness through encouragement, education, and developing healthy habits.”
A Life’s Journey Come Full Circle
For Avis, her life’s journey and purpose have come full circle. Each challenge conquered along the way has served as a compass pointing back to the island of her roots and her desire to help people reclaim their health and lives. Born and raised on Harbour Island, Avis left home in her teens to pursue her education in Nassau. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in accounting, she spent most of her career in the capital, working as an accountant and later in banking and wealth management.
After battling cancer, she wanted to return to her peaceful, homesteading roots and actively contribute to developing her island home. In 2020, One Eleuthera Foundation (OEF) presented her with that opportunity. She accepted the position of Chief Financial Officer and returned home to Eleuthera.
OEF’s focus on sustainable, progressive development in five key sectors, including the economy, education, environment, health, and heritage aligned with Avis’s values. She found a new sense of purpose in her profession. OEF’s extensive work in promoting community health and breast cancer awareness with programs dating back to 2014 also resonated with Avis.
Working with OEF and its sister organization, the Centre for Training and Innovation (CTI), was kismet. It fueled Avis’s passion for community development and increased her understanding of the nonprofit sector exponentially.
Looking back over her tenure, Avis is grateful for the many lessons learned through her third-sector work with OEF and CTI. She is most proud of the organizations’ accomplishments in facilitating the Eleuthera Feeding Program, which provided critical food distribution to families across Eleuthera during the COVID-19 pandemic, making history with the launch of OEF’s Oasis Grow House, the nation’s first and only smart technology retractable-roof cooling house and leading the finance team in completing both organizations’ external audits, ensuring the highest level of financial integrity, and demonstrating compliance with the law and the country’s regulatory bodies.
A Vision for the Future
As Avis embarks on a new chapter in 2024, she plans to devote herself entirely to expanding the impact of Hope 4 Tomorrow in a full-time role. Her focus on building and strengthening her nonprofit reflects her commitment to touching and uplifting more lives while supporting the needs of cancer patients in the country. She envisions increased education, outreach initiatives, wellness workshops, patient advocacy initiatives, and more frequent wellness retreats on Eleuthera.
Her story serves as an inspiration to all, proving that resilience, determination, and a heart dedicated to giving back can transform personal adversity into a source of hope and healing
for others. To support Hope 4 Tomorrow’s mission or to learn more about upcoming retreats, visit hope4tomorrowbahamas.org.
About One Eleuthera Foundation
Founded in 2012, One Eleuthera Foundation is a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to transforming our local island communities into thriving, self-sufficient ecosystems. We do this by focusing on five key areas: economic ownership, meaningful educational advancement, pathways to wellness, and environmentally sustainable communities centered around our island’s unique cultural identity. We run a number of social enterprises, including CTI, our vocational school; the Retreat Hotel, a training hotel for hospitality students; and our farm and Cooling House, which trains future farmers in the best sustainability and food production practices. Through OEF’s consistent dedicated efforts, the tenacity and resourcefulness of our legacy community, and the support of donors and partners, we are creating change in Eleuthera.