Throwing your money out the window?

Imagine you are 10-years-old. You live in Yemen, a country where conflict is ongoing, devastating, and where hope is in short supply. Imagine you are caught up in the violence and injured. There is no 911, no Rockingham Memorial Hospital, no local rescue squad. Imagine also that transportation is limited and often interrupted. And imagine that an American or English or Australian doctor comes to you to provide unexpected help. Imagine that their assistance is the difference between life and death. Imagine. Just imagine.

Sadly, the truth is that tens of thousands of individuals in Yeman — and many other countries around the globe — experience this daily.  Sadly — except for the last part where  doctors find them. Doctors without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres-MSF) provides those doctors. For instance, according to their website:

During 15 days of heavy clashes in April, more than 200 heavily injured people were received in the emergency room of Lawdar Hospital, where MSF has been working since January 2012. Since January, more than 3,000 patients have been treated at the health post in Jaar and more than 1,500 at Lawdar’s emergency room….More than one-third of these were trauma cases related to violence, and the vast majority were civilians.*

Now back up and think: Where do those doctors come from? Where do they start? And could you be someone who initiates such a rescue? Perhaps.

Recently, we came across a letter from international student Anna Marie Pacheco Young (’14), recipient of the Lucy Copenhaver Gunter Memorial Scholarship. She wrote to express her thanks for the scholarship JMU awarded her, what it means to her, and what she hopes to turn it into. Her letter is compelling — and it is inspiring.

Sometimes there’s a disconnect from what we give to, say, a university and the impact it can have. I came across a slogan for Doctors Without Borders that I liked: Don’t throw your money out the window. Throw it further.

That describes what a scholarship does. In the simplest of terms, a scholarship can go far beyond providing educational help. What the impact of that education becomes is the true measure of the value of a scholarship. It rarely ends with education, and as you’ll read in Anna Marie’s letter, it is potentially so much more.

I cannot begin giving my thanks without saying this scholarship was a true blessing. Currently, I am with my family in Spain. I find it awing the great news was brought to me in their presence not only because they were with me to celebrate but because my family and life in Spain have set the foundation for who I am and everything I do at JMU…. Not only does this scholarship mean a proud moment for my family as I am the first to go to college here in the U.S., it means a chance to be able to continue following my dreams.

All my life I have wanted to do one thing: to influence and help others in an impeccable way. I made the decision to dedicate my life to pursuing medicine in hopes to one day call myself a physician. This decision has grown into a beautiful dream that has been changed and shaped by my experiences at JMU and the rest of the world.

As of now, I am studying biology and medical Spanish. After I graduate, my goal is to serve abroad on medical missions for a year. More specifically, I want to target underdeveloped and impoverished countries in South America. After this year I hope to gain acceptance into a medical school of my choice and continue into a pediatric residency program. I hope to have the opportunity to serve the children of these countries and educate them into living a healthy life so future generations will do the same.

My ultimate goal is to be a part of Doctors Without Borders…. To get to this goal my educational plans hold a lot of potential and importance. I have big dreams and I know success in my college experience will be crucial to achieving them. Therefore, I hope to continue pursuing a degree …, achieving excellent remarks and grades along the way. In order to help others to my full potential I want to gain as much knowledge as possible. In addition, I want to enter into a research program this coming summer and school year in the biology department and travel to Bolivia on a medical mission that targets children in La Paz.

I have already served in Panama in which the medical team targeted families in the slums of San Miguelito. As a result, I desire to continue this kind of work in Bolivia. I also plan to continue and grow in my involvements on campus. As a student ambassador, president of Service Learning without Borders, a Spanish medical interpreter under Blue Ridge AHEC, and a member of the Huber Learning Community I learn everyday what it is to be a leader and continue to fuel my passion for service.

This scholarship means motivation, achievement, and most of all hope for the future that awaits me. 

With these credentials, is there any doubt that someday Anna Marie will turn her scholarship into something amazing? She’ll be throwing that scholarship money further than anyone could imagine.

To learn more about the James Madison Organizations, Anne Marie works with click on the embedded links above.

*http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/press/release.cfm?id=6035&cat=press-release

About grahammb
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

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