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Durham EMT Will Spend Spring Break in Haiti

College student raising money to educate residents of the impoverished country about health and first aid.

 

Shannon Brady is getting ready to spend another spring break in Haiti.

The 20-year-old EMT at Durham Volunteer Ambulance Corps will make her second trip to the capital city of Port au Prince in March to help residents still reeling from Jan. 2010's earthquake.

"It's cliche, but you go there to change people, to help people, and they end up helping you. It's a life changing thing," said Brady who lives in North Madison and is a junior at Connecticut College in New London.

Haiti is the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation — a place where even the most basic medical equipment, such as first aid kits, is in short supply.

During her ten day trip to the country, Brady, who's studying biochemistry and moleculary biology, will visit schools to teach first aid and public health to Haitian students and teachers.

She's currently raising money to help pay for supplies and brochures that will be used to educate the residents about diseases and methods of treatment. Every penny raised, Brady said, goes directly to helping them.

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"Whatever people donate is going to go to something that's going to bring sustainable, long lasting change. The equipment we're getting is lifesaving," she said.

Brady first learned of Haiti's plight while studying French in high school in Pennsylvania and quickly realized it was a much shorter flight than Africa.

Last year, she spent her spring break volunteering at a temporary health clinic in Port au Prince, where she worked alongside doctors treating residents of the city's tightly packed tent cities.

"We treated a hundred patients a day. It's kind of like a primary practice, giving medications, doing suturing if necessary. They don't have running water," she said.

This year's trip, which she will take with classmate Kelsey Row, is being sponsored by the Haitian American Caucus, an organization that provides a number of volunteer opportunities aimed at helping the country rebuild.

"They empower women. They teach goat husbandry. It's more about sustainable efforts," said Brady who plans to apply for medical school when she returns from Haiti.

In addition to her part-time work as an EMT in Durham, Brady is a patient-tech at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown.

Haiti, though, is where she's really needed.

"It's still an uplifting, extremely rich place to go. It's amazing acually."

Durham PropHead January 11, 2013 at 04:28 PM
What a great story! In this period of mass tragedies and senseless killings, it is good to see people out there making a meaningful difference in lives. Durham is very fortunate to have volunteers like Shannon in emergency services!
Dave D January 11, 2013 at 09:03 PM
Well done, many a former DVAC EMT have gone on to serve the community at large in different ways. I'm glad to see the tradition continues.

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