03 August 2008

Discovering a hidden hero

I am always amazed at the spontaneous generosity and enthusiastic volunteerism found in the people I brush shoulders with every day. Me, I'm far too lazy! I go to work, I do my best, I try to give my patients and their parents compassionate and personal attention to their ailments and worries. But then, I go home, and I collapse! If only I didn't need sleep, the many projects I would have accomplished! I have colleagues who use their precious vacation time to organize backbreaking missions to needy communities and provide medical care through great personal effort and expense. I marvel at them in wonder.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that yet another of my colleagues had a secret double life as a super hero. Nurse L. in the pediatric intensive care unit told me about her volunteer work helping Ugandan citizens suffering from sickle cell disease. She was inspired to help from the personal experience of a family member. The ravages of the disease in Uganda, and other African countries, goes largely unnoticed. It is a cause of many deaths, a large proportion of them children. Here too, in the United States, the disease receives less notice than some higher profile illnesses that affect fewer people.

I have known my friend L. for several years and had no idea of her good work. She has raised a significant amount of money here and abroad. Her family has donated land in Uganda for a specialized clinic. She has visited the site and inspired local personnel to staff the facility and carry out humanitarian work. I urge you to read more at their website: http://uganda-americansickle.org/ .

The heroes among us like her are this global society's salvation. She does all this while fulfilling her military duties and living the schedule of a PICU nurse, which is more demanding than mine. She inspires me to look for opportunities to reach out and help others.

Hope to see you soon!



artillerywifecq said...

I have thought about doing some volunteer work abroad when husband comes home, in a few years when he is willing to leave the country again. There is so much need out there and not enough heros.

Chris said...


wherever you can give of your time, I know it will be appreciated. The few times I have been lucky enough to volunteer, I have always gotten it back many times over. Thanks for the visit!