Infection prevention nurse Therese Antony first went to Haiti three years ago. As a volunteer at a clinic in the remote village of Duchity, eight hours outside Port-au-Prince, she saw as many as 200 patients a day. Some had walked for hours to get to the volunteer medical team.
“You get so attached. These people have nothing. They’re grateful for a pen, a lollipop,” Antony says.
She plans to return to Haiti this year, along with 3South Nursing Director Kathleen Downey. They will travel to the island country with a team of 10 other medical professionals and support staff, from April 28 to May 5. Saint Thomas Church, 1500 Brookdale Rd., Naperville, coordinated the trip.
Weiss nurses provide much needed help in Haiti.
Downey says she has wanted to do a medical mission trip for years, and approached Antony after hearing her stories from previous Haiti trips. “I’ve been blessed with an education, with everything I’ve learned. I want to give back,” she says.
During their week in the mountain village, the team primarily will treat prenatal women, people needing HIV or H. pylori screenings, and people with lacerations or burns. Besides treatment, the team also educates, teaching local people about body mechanics, women’s and men’s health issues, immunizations and primary care.
Antony was hooked from her first trip. One night that year, she took turns with other volunteers, monitoring an infant who nobody thought would make it through the night. “I’d never seen a child die,” Antony says, “and I still haven’t.”
The next morning, the infant was still breathing, and Antony and the team succeeded in getting him to a hospital many miles away. She wondered everyday after that if the boy survived.
Many wait for medical help in Haiti.
When Antony returned to Haiti the following year, a woman and her son were waiting in the clinic. They had come looking for Antony. Tears spring to Antony’s eyes as she remembers seeing them and knowing immediately who they were—the young boy and his teenage mother. Antony promised them that she would come back every year.
And she has. “I call it my Haitian vacation. It’s very real, very cathartic, and it brings you down to what matters,” Antony says. “It opens up your heart in a different way.”
This month, the Weiss Initiative Supporting Health (W.I.S.H.) is taking monetary donations to support the trip. Each traveler requires approximately $1500 to cover transportation and medical supplies. Antony says people also can donate goods, including:
Nurse Antony spent time helping many children in Haiti.
- Suitcases (to transport supplies)
- Children’s chewable vitamins with iron
- Infant drops with iron
- Prenatal vitamins
- Adult vitamins with iron
- Newborn hats and booties
- Infant sleepers
- Blood pressure cuffs
- Sterile dressing supplies
- Ace bandages
- Collidal or silver burn dressings
To make a donation, please stop by the WISE Senior Center near the C elevators, and speak to Coordinator Abby Lochotzki.