As the daughter of a father who was named “Citizen of the Year,” volunteering was a normal occurrence in our household. One of my most memorable times while growing up was serving in a downtown Kansas City, MO shelter. We spent many hours cleaning, painting and serving meals to the poor and homeless of this downtown church.
After my son was born in 2002 and starting a new job, I met Sue Averill, RN. Her international humanitarian work fascinated me. She and I quickly became friends as she shared her stories with me. Her work motivated me to look for my chance to serve. In 2005 I had the opportunity to travel to Haiti with my father’s church as a member of their medical mission team. I had the privilege of traveling with both my father and a nursing colleague from Seattle. I knew this trip would be life changing, but I wasn’t prepared for exactly how it would affect me. My heart went out to the mothers of young children who fought each day merely to survive. Families would line up hours before the beginning of clinic and wait patiently for the opportunity for their children to have a medical exam. I was also touched by the mother who walked over 35 miles with her 8 year old son so he could be examined by our eye team. He qualified for the cataract removal surgery and after 2 days he was able to see again! These experiences taught me that despite our many differences, we held the common bond of motherhood and as mothers we wanted the best for our children. I learned that my skills as a nurse can be that avenue through which these mothers can receive the care they and their families so desperately need.
As the mother of 3 young children I am not able to travel far distances for long periods of time. Instead, my husband and I are choosing to teach our children about giving to others in our local community. It is my goal to someday travel around the world focusing on service and volunteer work as a family. I am currently a stay at home mom and ER nurse in Seattle.