Why did you choose to volunteer with LEAP?
My colleague Dr. Candace Granberg always shared so many amazing stories about her LEAP trips. I felt called to help people and use the talents that God gave me to serve the people and love those who don’t have access to quality medical care. LEAP has given me the opportunity to serve God. The entire organization works hard to asssemble the highest quality team of professionals to make the largest impact on each and every trip.
How is this different from your everyday practice?
I’m a NICU nurse in the states. I love babies! Babies are my jam! We have so many resources and tools available where I work. It is humbling to come here to Haiti and see the daily struggles of the population. These surgeries represent what is best about healthcare. They would never be able to receive the care that we can give them. All of the surgeries that we perform are life changing for these kids.
On this trip, we had a one month old who was admitted for severe malnutrition and dehydration due to her mother not knowing how to properly feed her because she was born with a cleft lip. She only weighed 1.5 Kilos. The baby was lethargic and close to death. I worked on the baby using my everyday nursing skills and was able to educate the family on the proper feeding methods. Within a few days, the transformation was miraculous. She gained an impressive 400 grams and had a strong cry. This little girl pulled at all of my heart strings.
What is it like to working with the team?
The LEAP team is awesome! You have very experienced surgeons who are always willing to take the time to teach you. The nurses are a close team who support one another and have fun even under difficult conditions. The leaders Donna, Rob, and Diane are extremely well prepared, efficient, and know what we need when we need it. LEAP is a super well organized mission surgical group.
What parts of the experience will stick with you the most?
I’ll start crying when I say this, but it is the love that you get to give the child. You have this feeling in the states, but these kids you really get to impact in such a life changing way. I became a nurse because I love children, and I come to Haiti for the same reason.
What drives you to share your gifts in this way?
I’m driven by the immense love that I have for children. Especially for Haiti, it is such a forgotten place and has had so much tragedy. It’s amazing to me that parts of the world are still in such desperate need of quality healthcare. Any small gift of my talents and knowledge is a responsibility that we all have.