Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” It is so incredibly easy in the chaos of everyday life to lose sight of what is truly important. We become so consumed with deadlines, bills, and schedules that sometimes we forget to slow down, be thankful for all that we are surrounded with, and see who it is around us that may be in need of some help. When I began this journey with Ogallala Commons I was asked why I choose nursing, I went on to explain that being given the opportunity to further my education by receiving a degree in the Science of Nursing was truly a blessing. I explained how I truly believed being successful as a nurse and an individual in general had nothing to do with money or materialistic aspects, but how I would use my blessings to be a blessing in another person’s life. To me using your own blessings in the most positive way, by giving back, is the ultimate form of gratefulness and the rarest, but most rewarding form of success. I was extremely excited to begin the community service portion of my internship, and I had a couple ideas of what I would like to do as my service projects and what I hoped to give and gain from each and every one of them. However nothing could have prepared me for what I experienced and learned through these service projects.
On April 26th I participated in the No Excuse for Abuse 5K in Borger, with my sister, Sierra, and my friend Sydney. It was great to see so many people in my community fired up about putting an end to child abuse. There had to be at least 200 people on the starting line that morning, and not just runners but walkers, strollers and children on bikes. We started out the race in the front of the pack and finished in the middle. We didn’t care so much about our finishing place; it was just so uplifting to see so many people motivating and pushing each other to make it to the finish line. We had a great time and really loved being able to give back.
On June 27th I participated at Relay for Life in Borger. I didn’t get off work at the
hospital until about 7:30 and I had to be at work early the next morning so I only got to participate for a couple of hours. I walked with some friends in honor of a classmate who fought and beat cancer. We really had a great time walking and talking with everyone else. However we also spent some quiet time to pay our respects to those lost and to give thanks for those who were successful in their fight. Cancer is a terrible disease that no individual or family should ever have to experience, and though our couple hours of walking by no means helped find a cure to cancer it did help to raise awareness and more funds that can be used in the battle to find a cure.
My favorite service project involved one on one time with a very special three year old named Bailey. Bailey was born prematurely on September 23, 2010 with multiple physical abnormalities. Bailey weighed nine pounds at the time of her birth and upon removal of a seven pound tumor, merely hours after being born Bailey weighed a small two pounds. Along with facing the challenges of being a preemie Bailey also faced other challenges due to maternal drug use and alcohol consumption during pregnancy. These challenges included imperforate anus, which means Bailey was born without a rectum, nerve abnormalities that were believed to keep her from ever being mobile. Bailey was given the odds of not making it past two years of life, and though the odds were stacked against her Bailey’s Grandmother, who later became Bailey’s adoptive mother chose to fight the odds. Three years later Bailey is happy and healthy after undergoing over ten surgeries, numerous hospital stays and countless doctor appointments. She is incredibly active and runs jumps and plays like any other three year old. Bailey recently experienced a leg fracture due to her active and playful lifestyle and is now learning how to walk again. Bailey has an astonishing vocabulary and can carry on a conversation with just about anyone she meets, because to Bailey no one is a stranger. In my time with Bailey we worked on physical and cognitive skills, though to Bailey it was just a fun day! For cognitive skills we worked on separating items based on color and shape and to my surprise this was no challenge to her, she quickly informed me that “This is to easy Chey-Chey”, we also worked on drawing and identifying shapes with chalk, counting to ten, and accurately identifying various objects.
For a child with so many difficult hurtles to overcome I expected to see some cognitive difference to that of other three year olds, but was presently surprised to see that she is well above average development of children her age.
As I discussed in my opening we so often become consumed with the rush of everyday life, we often feel discouraged with the mounds and mounds of to-do list and due dates that lie ahead of us. However I learned through my community service experiences that if we allow ourselves to become consumed with worry and discouraged we would never finish anything we started. Through the No Excuses for Abuse 5K not only did I get to help give back to the hundreds of children that face daily abuse, I also got to push myself and motivate myself to make it through the 3.2 mile race. At Relay for Life I had the opportunity to reflect with many cancer survivors on their battle and the importance of not giving up on yourself or others. Lastly with Miss Bailey I was taught that though medicine and science have come a very long ways and are very valuable resource, they are never 100% accurate predictors to someone’s future, sometimes God has much bigger and different plans for people. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to help give back; though it was in small ways I feel that I learned some very big and valuable life lessons.