What are the different motivations for going on a medical mission? In part 2 of “Purpose” we explore the rest of the teams’ answers.
Jann Johnson (Surgeon): I was asked to go in 1991 and after my first time, I couldn’t stop. Seeing families, especially adults’ lives transformed so easily- it’s thrilling and reminds you of why you went into medicine. It’s a privilege to be given the opportunity to just give to others and it’s the most gratifying thing I do in my life.
Steve Brozosky (Quartermaster): I like helping where I’m specifically needed versus a role where the work can get done without you. On the Rotaplast medical missions, everyone has a purpose and each person is essential for the mission to be successful.
Rebecca Orlino (CRNA): I’ve always known even before nursing school that I wanted to go on medical missions, in fact that was the goal. Musicians want people to hear their music, and in the same way, nurses are nurturers and I wanted to give back in this skill that I have. You can get jaded working in the “real world” where things can be sterile and cold. Being here on missions softens your heart and renews your sense of purpose. I didn’t go on my first mission until after I had kids. I know how loved my kids are and I wanted to give other parents and their children a chance to feel loved and beautiful and wanted.
Jean Petro (Lead PACU Nurse): The whole experience is grounding and keeps things in perspective. Love one another. Help the underserved. Give when you can.
John Kaufmann (Patient Transporter): Medical missions allow me to go to interesting places, meet, and help interesting people. Most of the time when you travel you are focused on the scenery and hardly notice the people. I like that we get to concentrate on the people, get to see how they think, and feel how they feel.
Bryan Stamm (Pediatrician): I come on medical missions because it’s the right thing to do. The Rotary mantra is “service above self” and I deeply believe that. It doesn’t make me “feel good” because instead I think it’s an important moral obligation we all have to help each other. We have a skillset and there is a need. The impact of helping one child with special needs extends to ease the burden, not only on that child, but their siblings, parents, and community as a whole. So there is a big impact in this work.
Rene Clement Vreuls (Lead Pediatrician): It’s important to get out of your routine sometimes and go on adventures, meeting other people and their cultures. It’s good that people can make use of my experience and ability to speak Swahili. By being able to communicate in the local language, it eases the locals- both patients and hospital staff. Things can go wrong and things can go well, but in the end people look after each other. Coming back from a mission I feel reborn and refreshed.
Michelle Benedict (Photojournalist): Growing up with, caring for, teaching, and loving children with special needs has made my heart very soft to the struggles and suffering they endure in such a vulnerable time of their life. Going on a medical mission has been the highest item on my life’s purpose list since I first heard about it when I was 10 years old. If I can contribute any skill to bring the children peace and inspire other adults to care enough to act as well- whether donate to a cause that speaks to them, volunteer their time and energy, come up with solutions to some of societies most plaguing ills, or just believe that they too can and should pursue their most unreachable dreams- then it has been a life worth living.
Alirameen Akram (Medical Records): Medical missions introduce you to people who have ideas, hopes, and dreams just like you. I wanted to experience a mission to see how people live in other parts of the world. I don’t want to close my eyes to the reality of other peoples’ suffering, but instead understand what light I can contribute.
Ted Alex (Sterilizer): I always wanted to do something that had impact at the global level, think outside the box, and help children. These missions are an opportunity to give back to people who may not be able to help themselves, and thereby leaving the world a little better than I found it.
Ellen Boesner (Ward Coordinator): We have the ability to help kids with cleft lips and palates so easily now with a simple surgery. Being a Rotarian and loving kids so much, this is a natural fit for me and something I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to do.
Larry Tomsic (Recreation Therapist): In my mind, medical missions are a way to serve and pay back all the things Rotary has brought into my life. I’ve just always loved helping people.
Dennis Dundas (Medical Director): I originally was interested in medical missions because it sounded like a fun and rewarding thing to do. Once I started going on missions I was hooked. When you get to help somebody and really use your skills in a good way, it puts you into a state of euphoria.