Preparing for Can Tho: Wing Ip

I am one of the many podiatry residents that Dr. Lehnert trains at the Veterans Hospital in Palo Alto, California, and I was extremely grateful and ecstatic to be chosen by Dr. Lehnert for such an amazing mission.

I am going on this medical mission with the International Extremity Project to surgically correct foot deformities in Vietnam. I hope that through surgical corrections the patients will have better ability to walk more independently and freely, so that they may have a better chance of working, going to school, and living more independently.

This will be my first medical mission, and I hope it will be the first of many more to come, especially since this is one of the reasons why I wanted to be a doctor. I also strongly believe that in order to be a better physician and surgeon, I need to experience, see, and learn as much as I can. I know that this mission will provide me with such an opportunity.

I am looking forward to seeing the results of our surgical corrections and sharing in the optimism and hope that the patients will feel after surgery, knowing that they will have a chance to walk and function more like everyone around them.

In attention to getting vaccinations, travel insurance, and packing instruments and supplies, one of the biggest preparations for this trip has involved raising money to cover our expenses. After receiving the great news that my co-resident Sahra Sellers and I would be part of the IEP team, we've been earnestly fundraising for the past four to five months in order to cover our traveling expenses, room, and board.

Being chosen for this mission is a real blessing, and we both felt that we shouldn’t take it for granted that IEP would financially cover our costs to join the trip. We have been writing request letters to the larger podiatry community and businesses, making phone calls, and sending e-mail to all our friends, families, and podiatry attendings.

This has been the first time that I have ever done fund-raising, and it definitely required that I step out of my comfort zone to approach others for their support. However, I feel that being extremely passionate about this mission has made the process a little bit easier as it gives me the drive to be more vocal and let others know about our mission.