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Out of Africa

Out of AfricaThe latest castoff from CBS' "Survivor," Tufts graduate Linda Spencer turned her early exit into a good cause. Shaba National Reserve, Kenya.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [11.07.01] When viewers tune in to Survivor: Africa on Thursday night, the familiar face of Tufts graduate Linda Spencer will be noticeably absent. Though she was the show's hero just two weeks earlier, Spencer's fate quickly changed as she was voted off the show. But Spencer didn't let the defeat slow her down -- dedicating her post-Survivor time to improving health care in Kenya.

"I thought, the average person here makes less than a dollar a day, this is the poorest nation in Africa and AIDS is rampant," Spencer told Entertainment Weekly, while describing what she did after she was voted off the show. "I'm going to go on a safari? I think not."

So the Tufts graduate used her time to make a difference.

"I was able to travel through some villages and research their public health care needs, thanks to a grant from the Mpala Wildlife Foundation," Spencer told the entertainment magazine.

According to Zap 2 It -- an online TV news website -- Spencer "tagged along with and assisted a mobile health care clinic that went to villages around Kenya to promote AIDS awareness and family planning."

She's currently raising money for a new clinic for the foundation.

"It was amazing to travel with this group of people," she told the online news site. "It was totally rewarding."

And it was more proof that the Tufts graduate didn't need to win the Survivor's top prize to consider her time in Africa valuable.

A cancer survivor, Spencer says her appearance on the show and the physical and mental challenges she overcame are another milestone in her life.

"I'm a cancer survivor. I climbed to the summit of Mt. Rainier," she told Entertainment Tonight. "[Survivor:Africa] was an accomplishment, but I really didn't need a TV show to tell me I'm a survivor."

Would she do it all again?

Absolutely, Spencer told CBS' Early Show. "I'm thrilled that I did it."

Images courtesy CBS

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