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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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UB medical students raise funds for Haitian relief

In only three days, the medical school club, Hands Across Borders, and the UB chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) raised almost $600 from first and second year classes to support Haitian earthquake relief, and their fundraising efforts aren't stopping there.
Hands Across Borders expanded on this effort on Saturday night when they sponsored a fundraising effort called Trivia for Haiti at Mister Goodbar.
Bridget Buyea, a second-year medical student and president of Hands Across Borders, believes that efforts like these are the least she and her classmates can do to aid the ravaged country.
'We work really hard to be successful and learn the material that is presented to us everyday while in medical school. But it is also very important to make a difference,' Buyea said. 'At this moment, that means providing some monetary assistance to organizations that are better suited to help the people of Haiti while we continue our education.'
Buyea acknowledges that although Hands Across Borders lacks the resources to make a hands-on impact in Haiti, they have the potential to make a difference.
'We all want to do something for the people of Haiti, but it is really difficult to do anything tangible while in Buffalo,' Buyea said. 'The best that we can do is listen to what the people who are down there need and do our best to assist them.'
Nkem Nweze, co-president of the UB SNMA, agrees.
'I'm limited in the sense that I can't travel,' Nweze said. 'If I can help fund the trip for doctors, that would be making a big impact.'
According to Nweze, the SNMA plans to partner with local organizations and hold medical supplies, clothing and food drives sometime next month. Nweze also hopes to organize events to motivate students to give to the relief effort.
'We want to have a lunch lecture and bring someone from the Department of Health to talk about the after effects of disaster in developing countries,' Nweze said.
The SNMA members also intend to volunteer at Vive la Casa, a Buffalo-based organization that houses Haitian refugees. The volunteers hope to spend mornings and afternoons with the children housed at the center.
The SNMA tentatively plans to travel to Haiti on a mission trip with the Christian Medical and Dental Association during the summer months.
Both Nweze and Buyea encouraged their clubs to contribute online to Partners In Health, a worldwide health organization originally established in Haiti in 1987. Today, the organization is working to provide relief to the earthquake victims. Although SNMA doesn't have the means to travel to Haiti and directly help Partners In Health, Nweze is glad they have the opportunity to financially contribute to an organization that is so invested in bringing aid to Haiti.
'Partners In Health is closely, more intimately tied with the Haitian people,' Nweze said. 'We are helping them more indirectly, letting people know that they exist.'
Buyea shares the same sentiment.
'We have all heard of Partners In Health from before we even entered medical school because of the amazing things they were doing in Haiti and elsewhere,' Buyea said. 'We were confident that they would use the money we donated to them well.'
Buyea feels a strong responsibility to help the Haitian people who face natural disasters that are unlikely to occur here in Buffalo.
'We are so lucky to live where we do, even if it is kind of cold, and I believe we have an obligation to help those like the Haitians who have been unbelievably unlucky mainly because of geography,' Buyea said.
Nweze is thrilled that so many students are eager to aid the desperate Haitian population, and is looking forward to the upcoming fundraising events.
'I'm happy to see so many people stepping up and helping,' Nweze said. 'These are people's lives we're talking about.'




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