Moose Jaw In­ter­na­tional Med­i­cal Mission re­ceives Global Ser­vice Above Self Award for sec­ond straight year

Moose Jaw Express.com - - News - Randy Palmer Moose Jaw Ex­press

It takes a spe­cial brand of per­son to up­root their lives and travel to an im­pov­er­ished Latin Amer­ica coun­try for a week just to do the job they do back home. But when it’s the Moose Jaw Med­i­cal Mission to Gu­atemala, hav­ing a chance to do that job in a part of the world torn apart by civil war means al­most as much to them as it does to their pa­tients in the im­pov­er­ished land. And for that, the Ro­tary Club of Wakamow pre­sented the Mission – com­prised of Con­nie Paul, Lisa Tip­per, Lind­say Ste­wart, Melissa MacNeil, Melissa Taylor, Jes­sica Archibald, Kandy and Brad Hen­nen­fent and Jackie Wil­son – with the Global Ser­vice Above Self Award for the sec­ond straight year on Apr. 9 at the Her­itage Inn. The 2017 Mission saw the group travel to Patzun, Gu­atemala af­ter a year-long ef­fort to raise funds to pur­chase sup­plies and sup­port them­selves while in the for­eign coun­try. “This year that we’ve been nom­i­nated for was an in­cred­i­ble team ef­fort in that were able to give them the kind of care where they would know they were cared for and worth­while,” said Wil­son, who has been an or­ga­nizer and driv­ing force for each of the Mis­sions, of which 2017 was the sec­ond. An even larger, third group took part in the 2018 ex­cur­sion this spring. “We wanted to give them the best care that we could; we were able to raise quite a bit of money to go down there and cover our ex­penses while in Gu­atemala, but ev­ery­one on the team cov­ered their own ex­penses to go and took va­ca­tion time from their job in or­der to go. So I’m ex­tremely thank­ful to have a chance to work with such a great and ded­i­cated group of peo­ple.” Ro­tary Wakamow mem­ber Jac­ques La­casse set the scene for the level of work the group had ahead of them prior to leav­ing as part of his award in­tro­duc­tion. “It’s an area that was heav­ily dev­as­tated by civil war and where the pop­u­la­tion was se­verely im­pov­er­ished, and find­ing jobs is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult in that area, there are no jobs,” he ex­plained. “Pri­marly, what work­force there is are sub­sis­tence farm­ers, and they have lim­ited ac­cess to med­i­cal care. What care they can get is largely be­yond their means.” let­ters@mjv­ex­press.com or 888-241-5291 The 2017 edi­tion of the Mission worked out of Clin­ica Cor­pus Christi, a hos­pi­tal and or­phan­age in Patzun. There, the team spent their five days con­duct­ing 35 surg­eries, with most of the op­er­a­tions for things like gall­blad­ders, her­nias, hys­terec­tomies, and var­i­ous lumps and bumps. “While this kind of med­i­cal care might seem fairly or­di­nary to us in Canada who are priv­i­leged, to the peo­ple of Patzun, these were life-chang­ing events,” La­casse said. “They went from be­ing in con­tin­u­ous pain to be­ing pain free, and that’s an amaz­ing thing to of­fer peo­ple.” The fundrais­ing ef­forts to make the trip saw the group work­ing ev­ery­thing from steak dinners and concerts to cre­at­ing web­sites, work­ing so­cial net­work­ing, find­ing spon­sors and launch­ing gofundme cam­paigns. On top of all that, as Wil­son touched on, they paid for their trips to Gu­atemala them­selves – all the money raised went to sup­plies and their liv­ing ex­penses in Patzun. “A huge thank you to Ro­tary be­cause you gave us a re­ally gen­er­ous do­na­tion for this year’s trip and hope we hon­oured you with the work we did down there,” she said. “It’s amaz­ing to be part­ners with dif­fer­ent busi­ness who helped us out and thank you very much.” Know­ing it was all for the no­blest of causes made such dona­tions very easy, said La­casse. “It as a lot of work and or­ga­ni­za­tion all done by vol­un­teers,” La­casse said. “When I look at the Ro­tary Foun­da­tion and the Ro­tary Or­ga­ni­za­tion and what this award is about this is ser­vice above self in it’s purest form.”

Mem­bers of the Moose Jaw In­ter­na­tional Med­i­cal Mission to Gu­atemala team in­clude Melissa Taylor (left), Jes­sica Archibald, Lisa Tip­per, Lind­say Ste­wart, Jackie Wil­son, Kandy Hen­nen­fent and Con­nie Paul. Miss­ing are Melissa MacNeil and Brad Hen­nen­fent.

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