“I’ve always volunteered my time to serve others,” says Julie Hanson, BSN, RN, Clinical Education and Quality Assurance Manager. She continues, “I believe it’s our purpose as human beings.”
Julie, a nurse for the last 14 years, is affectionately nicknamed “Doogie Howser” by her colleagues due to her photographic-like memory and clinical knowledge.
Her passion for children is palpable; Julie spent the majority of her career working with pediatric patients at Shriner’s Hospital, RIC, Almost Home Kids, and various community hospitals.
Today, Julie manages the clinical education and quality assurance programs at Independence Plus, Inc.
Super Typhoon Haiyan
On November 8, 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, damaging the country with winds typically seen during a Category 5 hurricane. The typhoon was one of the strongest storms ever recorded and left the country damaged and in need.
Julie, along with members of her church, decided to answer the need. Instead of providing short-term assistance by sending supplies and money, they organized a medical and humanitarian mission that began after the initial relief dried up.
Organizing a Mission
Targeting the province of Illoilo on the island of Panay, Julie and members the Church of the Holy Nativity in Clarendon Hills, IL, set a fundraising goal of $10,000, and started to spread the word.
In a short time, they recruited fourteen volunteers— physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and non-medical volunteers—and raised $23,000 (more than double their goal!)
To help stimulate the local economy, they purchased all of their supplies in the Philippines. On the list? 400 pneumonia vaccines and various sustainability and rebuilding tools, including hammers, shovels, saws, mosquito nettings, and seedlings.
During the five-day mission trip, Julie and the other volunteers traveled to three areas in Illoilo—San Dionisio, Balasan, and Estancia.
Julie and the volunteers saw more than 1,500 people, and treated them for various chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, anxiety and stress.
Hope for the Hopeless
When reflecting on the trip, Julie thought about how their mission impacted the region—and its people.
“Hope,” Julie answers, “It’s what we left behind.”
She continues, “More than that, it’s what we learned and what we take with us.”
Read more about the mission in the Chicago Sun Times.
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