To help explain what service I am volunteering for, in 1978, husband and wife, Don and Deyon Stephens founded a floating hospital and called it Mercy Ship. It is the world’s largest civilian hospital ship that provides medical services to the poorest of the poor in developing nations. Mercy Ship (The African Mercy) has docked in countries such as Sierra Leone, Madagascar, Republic of Congo, Benin, Cameroon and Guinea to name a few. The African Mercy, is currently traveling on the west coast of Africa going from port to port to offer medical services to people with little or no access to healthcare. Statistically, there are only 2.5 physicians per 10,000 people in Africa. The African Mercy brings volunteer medical teams including physicians, surgeons, nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists directly to the people who would otherwise go without. In addition to the volunteers providing medical services onboard, they are also responsible for educating communities and family members on furthering their healthcare.
Mercy Ship has chosen me to be part of their rehabilitation team in the capacity of a physical therapist from August to November when the African Mercy is docked in Guinea. As with all medical personnel, not only do the volunteers provide their services without pay, but we are also responsible for out of pocket payment of our room and board, all travel expenses, medical insurance and vaccinations (Yellow Fever, Typhoid and Malaria) which are not covered under insurance in the United States. My goal of $8,000 is to assist me in covering these out of pocket expenses.
I had obtained a second job at a hospital doing acute care to help fund my trip. Unfortunately, this winter, I had an accident that prevented me from working this job. Since I do not have the funds to take leave without pay from my current job as well as pay for the expenses of volunteering, I would greatly appreciate any help in this endeavor so I can provide my expertise as a physical therapist to those in so much need.
Words cannot express how grateful I am for any help that I may receive so that I can pay it forward. If you would like to know more about Mercy Ship and what a wonderful organization it is, please visit: https://www.mercyships.org.
- Deborah Ryan-Campbell
- Patricia Day
- Karen Marcellus Dake
Ballston Spa, NY