Tzu Chi Foundation’s 227th medical mission on September 24 was a success thanks to the efforts of Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) members and volunteers. Held at the Pedro Guevarra Elementary School in San Nicolas, Manila, and the mission served 1,396 patients.
Volunteers are not paid because what they are doing is priceless. One can see their love and compassion to the patients, and their will to do good through the hard work that they showed during the medical mission.
TIMA member Dr. Eric Cu has been participating in Tzu Chi’s medical missions since his residency years in medicine school. Now, that he is a licensed doctor, he still continues to share his skill in minor surgery.
He shares the reason why Tzu Chi’s medical mission is close to his heart.
“Whenever they invite me, I willingly join because in Tzu Chi, I see unconditional help and compassion to the needy. No pretensions. No political intentions. Everything and everyone is genuine,” shares Cu.
Aside from his help during medical missions, Cu extends his services to the patients who can’t afford to see a doctor. Whenever Tzu Chi refers patients to his clinic, Cu waives his professional fee and offers consultation and surgeries for free.
According to Cu, his compassion and care for the needy are the results of his more than a decade of being a volunteer in Tzu Chi. He also shares what it takes to become a successful doctor.
“Doctors should always remember that our patients need not only receive professional care, but also comfort and concern. To be a successful doctor is not just about being skilful and knowledgeable, we should also show compassion to our patients and we have to put in our hearts the desire to treat their illnesses,” adds Cu.
Although not yet members of TIMA, several doctors also volunteered during the mission, one of them is Dr. Remedios Chan. The September 24 mission was her first with Tzu Chi.
“I was impressed by the humanitarian effort of Tzu Chi Foundation that is why I decided to be a volunteer doctor in their 227th medical mission,” says Chan.
“Tzu Chi’s medical mission is very organized. We have in each area complete sets of instruments and the staffs and other volunteers are very courteous. They also make sure that we are well nourished,” shares Chan.
When asked what she learned from today’s medical mission, Chan answers, “I learned the importance of being compassionate to patients. It’s something that all doctors need to realize. Being a doctor is not only about treating patients of their physical illnesses. If we can help with other aspects such as emotional or spiritual health of the patient, it is even better.”
Aside from the doctors, soldiers also contributed during the mission.
Fifteen army soldiers and 25 Air Force soldiers lend a hand in setting up the tables, chairs, and other equipment for the medical mission. Apart from maintaining security o the venue, they also helped in organizing the patients.
Private (PVT) Gabrielle Gonzales relates their job as defender, protector, and server of the country on their volunteer works for Tzu Chi.
“Our mission as a soldier is really about volunteering in a generous foundation like Tzu Chi, because as we said, we are serving the people. We don’t really secure the land for now, but we serve the people. How do we serve the people? As simple as by showing them that we also care, and also by assisting them with the medical mission of Tzu Chi,” says PVT Gonzales.
Soldiers are often seen as brave and tough. But the soldiers roaming the different departments during the medical mission wore smiles and exuded warmth.
“One thing that I have observed in this medical mission is the Tzu Chi volunteers –they always have this warm smile and welcoming look. Also, they always say thank you no matter how small the things that we did, and I think we have adopted their positive vibes,” narrates Gonzales.
PVT Gonzales says that she is also amazed with the advocacy and goal of the foundation, which made them flattered to know that she and her comrades played a vital role in realizing Tzu Chi’s medical mission.
“It’s very overwhelming on our side to be a part of this noble activity. We help not just because this is our task but also because we really want we do and we really want to help other people,” adds Gonzales.
Volunteer soldiers set up the tables that the doctors and volunteers will use during the medical mission.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
The soldiers also help in carrying the boxes of medicines that will be given for free to the patients.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
A volunteer soldier assists the elderly in going to the department where they will have a check-up.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
The volunteer army soldiers are all smiles for the camera despite the weariness from working and helping in the medical mission.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
A TIMA doctor is focused on his patient during a minor surgery. According to him, a good doctor does not only use his knowledge in treating the sick, but is also concern for the feelings and situation of his patients.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Each doctor who volunteered during the medical mission receive a certificate of appreciation from Tzu Chi Foundation.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】