Third year nursing student at the University of Alberta and Wetaskiwin raised Grace Bredlow has recently returned from a life changing volunteer trip to Ecuador.
Bredlow had the opportunity to travel with the medical volunteer group, Canadian Medical Teams Abroad (CAMTA), to give orthopedic surgeries to Ecuadorian citizens in poverty.
Most of the patients CAMTA works with have club foot, hip dysplasia or arthritis and often are in extreme pain.
Bredlow says that she was extremely nervous going into this trip because she was unfamiliar with the CAMTA team she was travelling with and Ecuador itself. But with a dream to one day be a travel nurse and a desire to broaden her professional and personal experiences she took the chance and is so glad she did.
“It was the biggest accomplishment of my life so far,” she says.
In Quito, Ecuador, Bredlow states she had many medical opportunities including watching surgeries, practicing skills and learning procedures from skilled nurses from around Canada, learning how to critically think with low hospital resources and interacting one-on-one with patients.
The recent CAMTA trip was two weeks long during which Bredlow says besides learning important nursing skills, she learned more about herself and life.
“You fall in love with the patients, you fall in love with the process.”
One patient that resonated with her had been suffering from arthritis for three years experiencing excruciating pain which prevented him from walking. His family had been living off $225 a month since he was unable to work. Following his surgery with CAMTA he was walking within 20 minutes after being in the ward.
“The feeling you get after realizing you are a part of the reason why a person has a chance at life again is indescribable.”
Bredlow says without a doubt she wants to volunteer with CAMTA again next year and that this mission trip has helped her find her self-worth and goals for the future.
“I found something I love doing more than anything else in the entire world. I found myself as an individual during the mission and I realized that helping others is what I was meant to do.”
She is thankful for CAMTA taking a chance on her and teaching her so much. She reiterates that CAMTA couldn’t do these missions without the support of people around them and donations.
More information on CAMTA can be found and donations made at www.camta.com. They also have a blog that people can sign up to receive daily emails with photos and stories from Mission 2023.
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