Reaching Out Through AARConnect

 Updated: December 8, 2015

Karen Schell
Karen Schell

A while back, AARC member Karen Schell reached out through AARConnect to all of the AARC Specialty Sections, asking for the donation of equipment and supplies to help support a mission to Ghana.

Karen, who is from Kansas, and fellow AARC member Lisa Trujillo, from Utah, are traveling to Ghana on a yearly basis to provide community education and health screening to those in need, and they’re also setting up the country’s first respiratory school at the University of Ghana. Classes will begin this August for the first students enrolled in the BS degree program.

Walt Wilson Walt Wilson

Meanwhile, across the country in Mississippi, AARC member Walt Wilson discovered the Ghana Mission while reading a blog on the Education Section page on AARConnect. Someone there was offering equipment to other programs when Karen responded requesting the equipment be donated to the mission instead.

Self-proclaimed pack rat

A self-proclaimed pack rat, Walt never refuses any donation of equipment to his RT program at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Natchez, even if it is not related to respiratory care. In the past, he has donated equipment and supplies to a Nigerian physician here in the U.S. who does medical mission trips to that country. Among the donations was a Bear Cub ventilator—according to the physician, one of the few available ventilators in that country.

#WhyImAnAARCMemberThanks to the AARConnect connection, Walt contacted Karen and asked if she was interested in several obsolete but functional ventilators that he had procured over the years. Karen was interested and offered to travel to Natchez to pick up the equipment. During the conversation, she also provided Walt with more information about the mission and its needs.

Walt then met with Copiah-Lincoln Vice President Teresa Busby and Assistant Dean of Career-Technical Education Monica Morrison to inform them of the mission and seek permission to donate the equipment and supplies. Not only did they support the idea, they offered their assistance in collecting personal hygiene items to send to Ghana and planning a forum for Karen to inform the community about the mission.

With permission from his college in hand, Walt began informing his clinical affiliates about the mission too and has since procured three more ventilators and even more expired supplies. The program’s freshmen class will be involved in sorting and packing the supplies as part of their required community service.

The beginning of a beautiful relationship

Karen will be traveling to Natchez with a trailer the first week of June to pick up the equipment and supplies, visit the affiliates that donated, and speak to community members who are collecting supplies as well.

Karen and Walt are looking forward to the visit and building future relationships with the students and community. They are even thinking of hooking up the students in Natchez with the students in Ghana through emails.

This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship—and all it took was reaching out through AARConnect!