1 year after cancer announcement, Jimmy Carter to build Habitat houses

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1 year after cancer announcement, Jimmy Carter to build Habitat houses

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, will spend six days in Memphis next month building houses with Habitat for Humanity.

The 33rd Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project is scheduled from August 21 – 26 and includes the construction of 19 new houses and six “aging in place” projects to improve seniors’ mobility in their homes. The project’s official kickoff ceremony will come one year and a day after Carter told the world that cancer had spread to his liver and brain.

During that extraordinary press conference last summer at the Carter Center, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said he would begin a course of radiation and drug therapy to combat the four small spots of melanoma doctors had discovered on his brain. And he said he still wanted to go to Nepal some two months later to take part in the 32nd Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project.

Eventually, civil unrest and severe supply shortages in Nepal forced Atlanta-based Habitat for Humanity International to cancel that amibitious project to build 100 houses in the mountainous country’s earthquake-ravaged Chitwan district. Undaunted, the former first couple headed to Memphis in early November, where they spent a day helping other volunteers build a Habitat house and announced that their annual weeklong work project would return there in August.

“As long as I feel good and I’m able, I want to continue like I always have,” Carter said on that day when he worked pretty much nonstop from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., with brief breaks only for lunch and a press conference.

In the meantime, Carter appeared to be gaining the upper hand in his cancer battle. In early December, the former president and Georgia governor told his Sunday School class at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains that his most recent MRI brain scan had failed to detect any signs of the original cancer spots. This past March, he said his doctors had told him he no longer had to receive treatments, although he said he would continue to get scans and MRIs and resume treatment if necessary.

Carter turns 92 on Oct. 1.

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