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Nurse leads medical mission that hits close to home

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GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mi. (WPBN/WGTU) — ”This is the area where we’re going to have the medical mission,” said nurse Aimee Albright as she scrolled through photos on her computer showing the island of Bantayan in the Philippines. Albright was born in the Phillipenes and moved to the United States in 2007. She now works at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. For years, she wanted to lead a mission trip back to her home country, but had no idea where to begin.

“It was sort of a pipe dream really," said Albright. "Like, I don't even know how to do this.”

Not knowing where to start, Albright looked for a location for the mission, and that led her to a small island with limited access to healthcare.

“Unfortunately on that island, it’s quite under served with regards to healthcare," said Alrbight. "Most of the people there depend on these annual medical missions to help them get by.”

After talking with a family friend who is a surgeon in the Philippines, Albright found out they were in need of wound care, small surgical procedures and internal medicine consultation. Now all she needed was some help

“It’s kinda all she talks about,” laughed ICU Nurse Assistant Kaylie Burley. However, once Burley heard about the plan, she was on board.

“I just jumped right in," said Burley. "I was like 'OK, I'm going.'”

"Aimee was talking about it one day and I'm like ‘where do I write a check?' And off we were," said nurse Joan Buchanan with a smile. "The idea of a mission is appealing to a lot of people, like nurses and aides, because we just want to help. That's what we do.”

“I would like to see what healthcare is like in a developing country,” said now retired nurse Connie Bak, who’s never left the country and is looking forward to the new experience. “Working right directly with the people, on a one to one basis as part of healthcare delivery... something I look forward to.”

Bringing people together, for a cause greater than themselves, this group of nurses is ready to make a difference.

In total, about 20 nurses from Munson are going on this trip which is set for this April. They already have confirmed about 500 patients in need of medical help and this group is funding it entirely themselves. They need medical supplies, and they also hope to feed about 300 children while they’re there.

For those interested in helping, there will be a benefit concert at Workshop Brewing Company in Traverse City on January 19. It will run from 7:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. and will feature the band "K Jones and the Benzie Playboys."

The group is fundraising right now on their GoFundMe page, which can be found HERE.

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