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Mission of love: A volunteer nursing journey

Earlier this year, six American nurses traveled thousands of miles for a week-long trip to coastal Ecuador, as featured in the Fall 2012 issue of Scrubs. But they weren’t taking a much-needed beach vacation–they were there to work.

These nurses, along with 10 other volunteers, were part of the Healing the Children mission, an organization which provides first-class medical care to patients in need around the world.

Patients are waiting to be seen by the doctors of the healingthechildren.org team.

Healing the Children organizes medical teams and sends them to host countries, where they treat children and young adults for free. Since 1979, the organization has treated more than 220,986 children through their international and domestic missions.

Christopher Chavarrín with his mother Alexandra Bravo after his cleft surgery.

The medical teams travel on their own dime to the host countries. They also bring with them bags of toys, medication and medical equipment to donate to the communities they serve.

Removal of bead from the ear of patient Yomara Zambrano by the team of healingthechildren.org

Although the work is grueling, hours long and costs off-putting, the nurses who volunteer for these missions return home changed for the better. Says nurse Linda Harper, who went on the mission to Ecuador, “Even though you pay to go on these trips, you come back richer.”

Liexy Anahí Paveso needed a second surgery because her stitches were damaged.

Want to get involved? Visit the Healing the Children website for more information, including a calendar of upcoming medical trips.

The healingthechildren.org team treating a young patient.

Get the full story and other features that appear in the Fall 2012 print edition of Scrubs magazine.

Images: Pablo Corral Vega

Editor’s Note: Most of the mission trips cost between $7,000 and $12,000 total. The volunteers pay for their own airfare, which can be $1,000-$2,000, while the organization typically pays for meals, lodging and travel within the host country. 

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