The lifelong connections made between volunteers and with patients and their families are one of the greatest perks of volunteering with Operation Smile. And why so many volunteers, just like Sally, keep volunteering on surgical programs year after year.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (PRWEB) February 28, 2023
Sally Herman of Mesa, Arizona, is a first responder flight nurse transporting critically ill patients of all ages and conditions to special care facilities in the area. Her passion for her work drives her desire to open a nonprofit helping vulnerable pediatric and adolescent patients and professional first-responders through equine therapy and other psychotherapies. The inspiration behind Sally’s nonprofit aspirations comes from Sally’s work with global surgical nonprofit Operation Smile. Sally serves as a volunteer clinical coordinator, helping orchestrate the functions of Operation Smile surgical programs all over the world for nearly two decades. Her dedication to helping others moves beyond showing up to the clinic and performing her duties; Sally also mentors local nurses and clinical coordinators, so they are able to continue providing year-round care long after international volunteers like Sally return home.
During her time with Operation Smile in Ghana, Sally met local clinical coordinator Doreenlove Serwah, who found her love for nursing and helping others through her mother’s wise words and guidance. “My mom was a nurse, and I grew up looking up to her,” Doreenlove said. “Her compassion, care and love for us as well as other family members and neighbors had a great impact on me. The only profession I could think of was nursing.”
When Sally started working with Doreenlove, she was immediately drawn to her quick thinking and deft problem-solving skills in the clinic. “I always had my eye on Doreenlove,” Sally said. “She had the same curiosity as I did. She wanted to see the big picture and see how everything comes together. She was always asking the most important questions and going way above and beyond. Those sorts of people stand out to me.”
Throughout her time with Operation Smile Ghana, Sally stewarded Doreenlove’s clinical coordinator training and observed how she handled the challenges of the position. “I felt privileged to train under Sally because she had such rich experience,” Doreenlove said. “She shared her experiences with me regarding how to critically manage unforeseen events during missions as well as how to manage volunteers and bring them all together. Through volunteering with Operation Smile, I found a means to give back to my country. The joy I experience when I see kids and adults receive free surgeries is worth every sacrifice I’ve made.”
During a past surgical program in Ghana, Sally and Doreenlove both had the pleasure of working with an older patient whose story left a considerable impact on the duo. At the time of her surgery, Faustina was a 17-year-old girl who had lived in isolation due to the cultural stigmas surrounding her cleft condition. She was ostracized and bullied for her appearance and spent most of her time hidden away inside her home. Through the influence of dedicated Operation Smile volunteers and Faustina’s supportive father and other family members, she was able to travel to an Operation Smile Ghana surgical program and receive her life-changing cleft lip surgery.
Today, Faustina is working in her dream field as an apprentice seamstress for her village. Faustina said she would never have imagined this kind of future for herself with her cleft condition. Prior to her surgery, Faustina was shy and reserved; post-surgery she is gregarious and open and has developed lasting friendships. Witnessing this reclusive teen blossom into a confident young woman is one of Sally and Doreenlove’s fondest memories of volunteering on an Operation Smile surgical program. The lifelong connections made between volunteers and with patients and their families are one of the greatest perks of volunteering with Operation Smile. And why so many volunteers, just like Sally, keep volunteering on surgical programs year after year.
“The knowledge the team carries gets shared and the impact grows and grows and grows,” Sally said. “It is a force that can’t be stopped if people are willing to go and share their talents and eventually pass those talents onto the next generation of willing volunteers. The experience must be impactful in ways that they feel they could spread the news of this opportunity with their communities and everyone who is suffering would have an open opportunity to come.”
Read Doreenlove’s full story here: https://www.operationsmile.org/story/these-nurses-are-building-legacies-care
Read Faustina’s full story here: https://www.operationsmile.org/story/tailor-her-future
About Operation Smile
Operation Smile is a global nonprofit specializing in expert cleft surgery and care. Over the last 40 years, we have provided medical expertise, research, and care through our dedicated staff and medical and student volunteers around the world, working alongside local governments, nonprofits, and health systems, and supported by our generous donors. Learn more at http://www.operationsmile.org or by following @operationsmile on social media.